DFWC welcomes ICAO communication on ‘business as usual’ for STEBs usage

By Luke Barras-hill |

DFWC welcomes the introduction of new security technologies, but says communication around their adoption risks creating confusion.

The Duty Free World Council (DFWC) has reacted after the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) reinforced messaging around the continued use of Security tamper-evident bags (STEBs) at airport security.

Airports around the world are steadily implementing new screening technologies for liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) in a bid to strengthen security regimes while enhancing the passenger experience, but that process is expected to take years.

While airports that have installed new scanners are advising passengers on the volume of LAGs that can be carried in their hand luggage, the technologies and advice dispensed by airports differs.

DFWC says there is a risk this can create confusion and the potential confiscation of goods, particularly in the case of transfer passengers.

Following successful representations from DFWC, ICAO has agreed to issue an electronic bulletin reminding member states and industry partners that current measures for STEBs usage will still apply ‘until further notice’.

Sarah Branquinho, President, DFWC

Reducing confusion

Sarah Branquinho, President, DFWC, commented: “Alongside the all-important enhanced security benefits that new generation security scanners bring, they will also greatly facilitate a smoother passenger journey through airports reducing traveller stress, which we know is a barrier to purchase.

“The rollout of the new technologies is warmly welcomed. We are however concerned that during the period when the deployment of new and older technologies overlap that there is a risk of confusion among travellers on what amounts of LAGs they take through airport security checkpoints, particularly for transfer passengers.

“A clear communication from ICAO to its member states and industry partners that current regulations on STEB usage still apply will help reduce confusion and avoid unnecessary confiscations, which would have a very detrimental and undesirable effect on our industry. The DFWC warmly welcomes ICAO’s positive response to our request to them on this matter and thanks ICAO for their cooperation.”

LAGs (liquids, aerosols and gels) and STEBs – the categories of which include products sold in duty free and travel retail shops – were introduced past security screening points following a terrorist plot targeting a US-bound aircraft in 2006 that led to a ban on all liquids carried onboard airlines.

STEBs were consequently developed to ensure security while offering exemptions to volumetric controls for liquids purchased at airport retail outlets or on airlines and carried by transfer passengers.

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