The government has announced that security restrictions at UK airports could be relaxed in the New Year.
Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly has said that from 7 January, 2008, airports will be able to submit a plan that could see passengers allowed to carry more than one piece of luggage on to a plane.
The single-bag rule was introduced in August 2006 when police say they foiled an alleged terror plot to blow up transatlantic jets.
In order to relax the one bag rule, airports will have to apply to the Department for Transport and prove that they have arrangements in place to screen the additional cabin luggage.
Ms Kelly said: ‘I hope to see rapid progress across the whole country—with all airports submitting plans over the next few months.
‘This is not about relaxing security; it is about allowing airports to take advantage of smarter technologies and improved processes to deliver a better service to the passenger.’
However, the restrictions on liquids in hand luggage, and curbs on hand-luggage size, will remain in place. Passengers are allowed to carry small bottles of liquids such as toiletries as long as they’re in a clear, re-sealable plastic bag.
Travel association Abta welcomed the news and said it was a ‘sensible move’ which will make air travel more pleasant for millions of customers.
Andy Cooper, Director General of the Federation of Tour Operators, said: ‘This has to be in the consumers’ interest. As long as it doesn’t lead to longer security queues, it is welcomed.’
However, it is also being reported by the Daily Mail that travellers will have to disclose up to 53 items of personal information every time they enter or leave Britain.
The questions – part of the government’s E-borders programme – are designed to flag up wanted criminals, terror suspects and illegal immigrants trying to enter the UK.
They include questions about credit card details, holiday contact numbers, travel plans, email addresses and previous missed flights.
The system would be introduced in 2009 and be fully in place by 2014.