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Suvarnabhumi » Restrictions will be enforced on liquids, aerosols and gels in hand-carried luggage on all commercial flights

Sunday, July 20th, 2008


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Thailand will start enforcing new restrictions on liquids, aerosols and gels in hand-carried luggage on all commercial flights departing from airports nationwide in the next few weeks.

Thailand is the latest Asian country to begin applying the security measures suggested by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) following the discovery of a terrorist plot in Britain last year.

Major Asian air hubs such as South Korea’s Incheon International Airport and Hong Kong International Airport implemented the measures earlier this year, while Singapore Changi Airport is due to apply them from May 8.

A draft of the regulation restricting the carriage of liquid, aerosol and gel (LAG) items has been forwarded to the Transport Ministry and enforcement is expected to start at the end of this month or early next month, according to Chaisak Angkasuwan, the director-general of the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA).

The measure limits LAG in containers with a maximum capacity of 100 millilitres each.

It is likely to affect sales of popular airport duty-free purchases such as liquor, wine, perfume and lotions, Mr Chaisak acknowledged.

It was unclear how King Power International would deal with the restriction which could seriously affect its main revenue stream, derived mostly from sales of alcoholic beverages and, to a certain extent, liquid-based cosmetic items.

King Power is the sole operator of duty-free stores at Thailand’s four international airports: Suvarnabhumi, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Hat Yai.

The most popular duty-free purchases at airports are alcoholic beverages, cigarettes and perfume which, according to industry estimates, could represent as much as 80% of King Power‘s daily turnover.

While King Power executives could not be reached for comment yesterday, Airports of Thailand (AOT), the airlines and King Power are reportedly being asked to work out details and address potential inconveniences that passengers could face.

The restrictions have been in place for several months for flights leaving Thailand for the US, the UK and Australia, in line with the requirements imposed by those countries. They are now being expanded to all domestic and international flights. They will also apply to passengers making transit and transfer connections in Thai airports.

”Of course, there will be a lot of frustrations among passengers at the airports’ screening points. But passengers need to come to terms with the new regulations that have been applied throughout the world in the name of security,” said Sunatee Isvarphornchai, a vice-president at Thai Airways International.

The flag carrier is starting a process of educating its passengers about the restrictions, including printing warnings on e- tickets, issuing advisory pamphlets and posting suggestions on its website.

To alleviate problems associated with duty-free sales, authorities are looking at a model adopted by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS).

At Singapore Changi Airport, passengers can continue to buy LAG items but the purchases will be placed in sealed tamper-evident bags by the shops, with the receipt clearly visible.

Under the ICAO guidelines, LAG items must be in containers with a maximum content of 100 ml each. LAG in containers larger than 100 are prohibited, even if the container was partially filled.

Larger containers must be placed in a transparent re-sealable plastic bag with a maximum capacity not exceeding one litre. Only one such bag will be permitted per passenger, and it must be presented separately for examination at the security screening point.

Baby food, medications and special dietary items in LAG form will be accepted but subject to additional checks at the security screening point.

Suvarnabhumi airport
director Serirat Prasutanond said AOT was prepared to handle the additional LAG item security screening.


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