New Delhi: According to government officials, the Ministry of Civil Aviation is considering installing and testing liquid explosive detectors at airports.
The move, if it goes through, would allow air travellers to carry liquids in excess of the current 100ml limit in their hand baggage.
However, the process is still in its initial stage, so there’s no specified timeframe for implementation.
The restriction on liquids dates back to 2006, following an instance in the UK where liquid gel explosives were involved in an airport terror plot.
How liquid scanning works
“The passenger will have to put the container in the detector and, within five seconds, it will tell the percentage of explosive in it. It gives 4-5 level of threat scenario, and based on that items can be allowed,” a ministry official told HT.
The shortlisting process is still going on
- Of the late, the ministry has been reviewing presentations by some European tech companies on the latest technology used to scan liquids at airports.
- Once the ministry shortlists a technology or a company that provides it, it will conduct a trial at one of India’s metro airports.
- Then, the ministry will issue a list of liquids that will be allowed in hand baggage.
- However, liquor that could be potential threats will not be allowed.
Which liquids are likely to be allowed
It’s expected that allowed liquid items will include water, paste, shampoo, cosmetic gels, and medicine. However, inflammable items like liquor, perfumes etc. are likely to remain prohibited.
Liquid scanners have been in use for years now
- It’s worth noting that the concept of liquid scanners isn’t new, and has been in use in some US and European airports for years now.
- However, the technology is being upgraded now. The latest iteration of the technology involves experiments with scanners that can check liquids in bottles inside a passenger’s luggage, to help speed up the scanning process.
Airport security has been demanding liquid scanners for a while
“We have been demanding liquid explosive detectors for a long time because many passengers argue to be allowed to carry liquids (in excess of 100 ml). The ministry has recently started meetings in this regard and trials will be conducted soon,” said a CISF official.