Australia has no plan to follow UK in ending liquids ban for flying

Some airports in the United States as well as Amsterdam’s Schiphol are also adopting the same scanners.

But The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age can reveal that the federal government has no plans to follow suit, despite the same technology being introduced at Australian airports.

Currently, liquids and gels cannot exceed 100mls and must be stored in a clear bag.
Credit:iStock

“At this point in time there are no changes to the restrictions placed on powders, liquids, aerosols and gels on flights taking off from Australian international airports,” a spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs said.

But security requirements were reviewed regularly so that they remained appropriate to the “threat environment” and to “make the most of advances in screening technology”, the spokesperson added.

James Goodwin, chief executive of the Australian Airports Association (AAA) said he hoped Australia would keep pace with new international standards and the rollout of the new equipment which expected to be completed here by 2024-25.

“Australian airports are encouraged by the moves in the United Kingdom and we would hope to see similar regulations implemented here,” Goodwin said.

He said rule consistency was critical for the flying experience.

“With many Australian travellers transiting through another country to get to or from their destination it will be important to have consistent international regulations,” he said.

“The measures are sensible and would stop unnecessary waste at screening points while improving confidence for travellers to be able to purchase gifts or duty-free at airports.”

The liquids and gels (LAGs) rule was introduced around the world after British police foiled a terrorist plot to carry explosives onto a transatlantic flight disguised as soft drinks in 2006.

Philip Baum, visiting professor of aviation security at Coventry University, said the rule had never made much sense.

“Screeners felt they had succeeded in contributing to security if they found a bottle of water, tube of toothpaste or aerosol that was oversized,” he said.

“They hadn’t. It caused misery for the majority of passengers with next to no security gain.

“It was a distraction. As with customs checks, immigration checks and quarantine inspections, aviation security measures need to focus on the identification of negative intent.