Page last updated at 01:04 GMT, Wednesday, 11 March 2009

EU 'terror' racquets court ruling

Dominic Hughes
BBC News, Strasbourg

airport sign
Items like liquids and sharp objects are unaffected by the ruling

A secret EU list of items banned from being carried on to aircraft has been declared illegal by the European Court of Justice.

The case was brought by an Austrian amateur tennis player who was thrown off a flight in Vienna in 2005.

Gottfried Heinrich refused to surrender his tennis racquets from his hand luggage after being told they were a possible terrorist weapon.

Staff felt the tennis racquets fell into the category of prohibited items.

But European judges have now ruled the unpublished list can not be enforced because passengers are unable to find out what is on it.

Security fears

The curious case of the threatening tennis racquets came to light when Heinrich was on his way to a tennis tournament.

He had cleared Vienna airport's normal security checks when staff declared his tennis racquets, carried as hand luggage, posed a potential terrorist threat.

He refused to give them up, so was thrown off the flight.

Outraged, he brought a compensation case, which exposed the existence of a secret European Commission list of items that are banned from hand luggage.

But that list is not made public because of security fears.

Now, the court has had its say.

The well publicised prohibition on items like liquids and sharp objects, however, is unaffected.

Print Sponsor

How they work
20 Jan 09 |  Europe


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2018 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific