Some of Britain's major airports have not yet been given permission to relax a rule restricting passengers to one item of hand baggage, the Government has said.
Several airports, including Gatwick, Liverpool John Lennon, Leeds Bradford and Edinburgh have yet to prove they can cope with extra bags without compromising security. Ruth Kelly announced in November that airports will be allowed to relax their baggage restrictions in the New Year. They had to submit plans to the Department of Transport to demonstrate that they have sufficient screening capacity whilst being able maintain security standards. But only 19 have so far met the appropriate standards, and have been given permission to relax the rule on January 7. A spokesman for the Department of Transport said: "Some airports have coped with the changes, but some need to improve." He admitted that passengers might feel confused about the different rules at different airports, but said it was the industry's responsibility to inform them. To add to the confusion, size limits on liquids and cabin baggage will still apply and airlines can place their own restrictions on the amount of hand baggage that can be taken in to their aircraft. Malcolm Robertson, head of corporate communications at airport operator BAA, said he expected more BAA airports, including Gatwick, Glasgow and Edinburgh, to be approved by the Government in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, BAA has further headaches on January 7 if a proposed strike goes ahead. Union members from Unite have planned a 24-hour walkout followed by another strike on January 14 and a 48-hour stoppage from January 17 at Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Southampton, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen airports.