Last year there were lot of reports (example) on how air travel liquids ban will end soon (depending on report, anything between last quarter of 2012 and mid-2013). Obviously it did not happen.

Is there any official explanation why?

  • Cancelling a security measure? The officials will not agree to that. – sharptooth Jul 23 '13 at 6:29
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    @sharptooth: more like airports and airlines not wanting to let go of opportunity to sell 0.30€ bottle of water at 3.00€. – vartec Jul 23 '13 at 7:47
  • Whether the ban is being lifted is a good fit for here, but why the ban hasn't been lifted may be more suited to politics.SE. – Andrew Grimm Jul 25 '13 at 22:45
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    @MarkMayo: liquid bans is still enforced in European airports. – vartec Jul 26 '13 at 8:16
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    @vartec ahhh, it was the knife ban they were lifting – Mark Mayo Jul 26 '13 at 14:45

Sorry for quoting the Daily Mail, but it was the only source I could find that quoted the EU release:

The European Commission released a statement saying: 'The removal of the ... restrictions on April 2013, as currently envisaged in EU law, could present a considerable operational risk mainly due to the scale of the change.'

New explosives detection tests and scanners were supposed to eliminate the need for the restriction. Like many, I assumed the 2006 liquid/gel/aerosol restrictions were merely temporary. Years later, the lifting of the bad has been variously predicted, and formally adopted by the EU, but unfortunately, never implemented.

As with many things, one group (the traveling public) is larger, but is also relatively unorganized and relatively uninterested in the subject. The other group (airports and security agencies) is well-organized and has a strong interest. The other group therefore enjoys outsize influence among policymakers and very often among regulators.

Airport operators and some security agencies have argued that the technology remains unproven, and have strongly resisted the move. To be fair, reports I've read note that the new scanners were yielding many false positives. But again to be fair, I'll also point out that the airports benefit from the ban because they enjoy the revenue from passengers purchasing drinks and other products (toothpaste, lotion, etc.) airside. As for the security agencies, inconveniences to the public or to the airlines are not their concern. If you're a security bureaucrat, you might consider banning all air travel everywhere a possible solution to the problem of aviation terrorism. And if the likes of both France and the U.S. are in favor of keeping the ban indefinitely, I think the EU authorities were also keen to avoid confusion among the traveling public as to which rules apply to which destinations.

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  • Interesting, seems like there is clear conflict of interest: AOA are responsible for installing new scanners, but at the same time they make extra money by not installing them. – vartec Jul 26 '13 at 11:15

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