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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 April, 2005, 20:27 GMT 21:27 UK
Air cabin security policy eased
Sharp object warning sign
Small nail scissors and knitting needles will be allowed on board
Strict security rules which prevented British airline passengers from carrying sharp items after 9/11 are to be relaxed.

Ministers have agreed that from 25 April pointed household items including small nail scissors or knitting needles will not be confiscated.

The new security guidelines will also allow passengers to eat with metal cutlery once again.

Transport chiefs believe the rules can be eased because of improved security.

Rules relaxed

Ministers feel that some sharp household objects will no longer pose a threat on flights if they fall into the hands of a hijacker.

They claim that sealed cockpits, closed circuit television and sky marshals have removed the need for prohibition.

"Airline security is an ongoing issue which is under constant review," said a spokesman for the Department of Transport.

"We are now of the view that there are enough security measures in place to allow passengers to bring these items back on to planes."

If you are sitting in a first class seat and getting served a rather nice meal, it is strange to have to eat it with a couple of plastic implements
Spokesman, British Airways

When the new guidelines come into force, passengers will be permitted to carry knitting needles and scissors with blades shorter than 3cm in their hand luggage.

But a ban will still remain in place on objects such as corkscrews and penknives.

Specific policy

Nail files and tweezers remain discretionary but airports and airlines will enforce their own specific policy.

Managers at British Airways welcomed the new proposals and the decision to allow passengers to eat with steel knives and forks again.

"We are very keen to get metal cutlery back on our aircraft," a spokesman said.

Of the plastic substitute, he said: "Our customers were certainly not enamoured by it. If you are sitting in a first class seat and getting served a rather nice meal on porcelain plate, it is rather strange to have to eat it with a couple of plastic implements."

Sharp objects were banned on airlines after the 9/11 attacks which were carried out with the help of sharpened box-cutters smuggled on board.

Within a year 15,000 sharp objects a day were being confiscated and disposed across UK airports, according to a spokeswoman at Heathrow.


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