EU decides to lift ban on liquids in cabin baggage
IRISH tourists will no longer have to give up expensive perfumes or duty-free drink to airport screening staff after April 2013, when Brussels will lift an EU-wide ban on liquids in hand luggage.
The limits on duty-free drink will be scrapped as early as 2011, the EU says, even for passengers coming from outside the EU.
The current restrictions have been in place in various forms since 2006, when UK police foiled a transatlantic bomb plot involving liquid explosives.
An outright ban turned into a cut-off on volume, with drinks, gels, pastes, lotions, aerosols and cosmetics under 100ml now permitted on planes only if they are carried in clear plastic bags.
Everything else must be packed into checked-in luggage, which has weight limits.
But Dublin, Shannon and Cork airports will need to install sophisticated screening machines that can detect dangerous chemicals within the next three years in order for the changes in security to come into force here.
Failure to comply with the new rules will result in a rap across the knuckles from the European Commission.
Brussels will start to conduct random inspections across EU airports to make sure the Dublin Airport Authority and its counterparts keep to the rules.
EU transport chief Siim Kallas said yesterday that the EU was "signalling the beginning of the end for the current restrictions on liquids in cabin baggage, with a clear and final deadline of April 2013".
Since the ban came into force, almost 35,000 items have been surrendered, according to the DAA, including bottles of wine, champagne and even jams and other preservatives.
Confiscated items are given to charity, as long as they are in pristine condition.
The prohibition has particularly angered passengers catching connecting flights in Frankfurt or London, who are forced to hand over some of the spoils of their duty-free sprees to waiting security staff.
EU officials have been in talks to lift the ban since last year.
"The ban was always meant to be temporary but scanning technology is expensive and has been slow to develop," a Commission spokeswoman said.