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Geneva passengers ignore new flight rules

Many products have been confiscated, such as these at Zurich airport Keystone

Geneva airport says up to 95 per cent of its passengers are ignoring new air security rules restricting the amount of liquids that can be carried on to planes.

It says many people are simply being dishonest rather than forgetting about the week-old regulations. The country’s other main airport at Zurich has reported few problems.

The new security measures, applied by the European Union, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland on November 6, follow a plot foiled by British police in August to blow up flights to the United States using liquid explosives.

Under the regulations, liquids or gels are restricted to 100ml containers and must be carried in a clear re-sealable plastic bag, with a maximum capacity of one litre. Certain exceptions apply for medicines and baby food.

On Monday, Geneva airport spokesman Philippe Roy confirmed media reports that around 95 per cent of hand luggage currently had to be searched due to the presence of liquids.

“At such a level you can no longer talk about people forgetting. It’s bad faith, even lack of civic duty,” he told the Swiss news agency.

“Passengers are cheating by hiding perfume in socks. But the detectors see everything,” added Roy.

Bin bags

The airport says it has collected more than 130 110-litre bin bags full of confiscated products since the regulations came into force on November 13.

The problem was even causing flight delays in some cases, said Roy.

The situation contrasts with that of a week ago when passengers had appeared to take the new regulations in their stride at the airport.

Roy pointed to huge efforts already made by the airport to inform passengers of the new rules but said that the authorities were still intending to step up measures. This would include checks before the main security controls.

However, he said the extra work had meant extra costs for the airport and that it was looking into possibly raising airport tax as a consequence.

In contrast, officials at Zurich airport, in the German-speaking part of the country, said that passengers had been largely adhering to the rules, despite some aggressive behaviour.

“The only problems have been with transit passengers who have sometimes bought expensive beauty products at the beginning of their journey,” said spokeswoman Sonja Zöchling.

swissinfo with agencies

Passengers are still allowed to buy duty-free alcohol and perfumes.
Security experts deem these areas and products to be safe.
Restrictions on the size of hand luggage are due to come into force on April 17.
A carry-on bag will not be allowed to exceed 56cm x 45cm x 25cm.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR