EU to Propose Limits on Hand Luggage

The European Commission is pushing for new restrictions on the size of hand luggage authorized on board flights out of the EU's airports, the bloc's transport commissioner said Wednesday.

If approved, the new measures would also restrict the amount of liquid allowed in hand luggage and introduce new provisions in check-in procedures, Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot said.

The plan, to be discussed by aviation security experts from the 25 EU nations in the coming weeks, follows an alleged plot last month to blow up several U.S.-bound planes flying out of London's Heathrow Airport.

"We believe we have found a good balance between the need for more security and the need to keep air transport fairly easy and smooth, which is in the interest of the passengers and the air transport industry," Barrot said.

The new rules would allow passengers to take a limited amount of liquid for personal needs, such as perfume, contact lens solution, medicine, baby food and shampoo, into aircraft cabins, said Michael Cercone, spokesman for Barrot,

Cercone said the measures - to be formally adopted by the Commission after consultations with the EU member states - could be in place by the end of the year.

There will be strict checks of liquids passengers take on board, he said.

Since the announcement of an alleged terrorist plot against flights out of Heathrow, European security and transport officials have met several times to agree on measures to tighten security controls.

EU nations agreed last week that complex electronic equipment, such as laptop computers, will have to be screened separately.

Several international airports have already implemented such controls independently, barring passengers from carrying any gels, liquids or creams on board and scrutinizing electronic equipment separately.

Copyright: Associated Press WorldStream -- 9/14/06

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