EU drops plans to limit cabin-baggage size
Airlines across European Union can continue to determine their maximum size of hand baggage allowed on their airplanes.5 May 2008
BRUSSELS - Airlines across the European Union will continue to be allowed to set the size of carry-on baggage they accept after the EU's executive body dropped plans to bring in EU-wide laws on Monday.
"We must seek to balance security with passenger convenience ... In this case it is clear that the inconvenience of additional limits would outweigh the advance in security," Jacques Barrot, who currently heads the European Commission's transport and security portfolios, said in a statement.
In August 2006, British police unveiled an alleged plot to attack passenger aircraft by combining liquid explosives to make an in- flight bomb.
The revelation led to a severe clamp-down on the types of luggage travellers could carry on board aircraft, with liquids, in particular, strictly limited and subject to rigorous checks.
As part of the clamp-down, the European Commission proposed bringing in an EU-wide limit on the size of cabin baggage allowed.
The proposal was based on the assumption that bigger bags are more difficult for airport security staff to scan than smaller ones, and was set to come into force in May 2007.
However, following questions regarding the effectiveness of the measure, the commission decided to postpone the introduction of the proposal for a year while further studies were carried out.
Those studies "concluded that the influence of baggage size on overall performance of security staff at airports was far less significant than other factors and that its effectiveness would not justify the additional costs and inconvenience," a commission press release said.
The commission therefore decided to rescind its proposal, leaving airlines at liberty to set the maximum size of hand baggage they will accept.
The EU's 27 member states "retain the right to impose stricter limits if necessary to suit local circumstances or to respond to a specific terrorist threat," the statement said.
[dpa / Expatica]