Brussels relaxes duty free rules

Published: 28-Aug-2014

Liquid restrictions liberalisation in airports is welcomed by European retailers, reports Méabh McMahon

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Eight months after new European Union (EU) rules came into force regarding air passengers carrying liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) in hand luggage at EU airports, business seems to have improved for personal care product duty free retailers. However, many airport retailers of perfumes and cosmetics fear the goal of a full lifting of the ban by 2016 will not be realised.

New norms, which came into force on 31 January 2014 under a schedule to completely lift the ban in January 2016, aim to help passengers purchasing duty free items while travelling to and from non-EU airports or transferring at EU airports. Since 2006, airline passengers have been limited to taking liquids in separate containers with a maximum of 100ml per item and keeping them in transparent, re-sealable plastic bags. As a result, many consumers have had their duty free purchases confiscated when transferring through an EU airport. The revised rules mean that passengers who buy liquids, aerosols or gels at an airport shop or on board an air carrier can now bring these items on an aircraft as hand luggage, provided they are correctly packaged in ‘secure, tamper-evident bags’ (STEBs). According to a European Commission communiqué, the new rules are “a very important step towards the removal of all liquid restrictions in the future”.

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