Partial liquid, gel ban is lifted for air travel |

Partial liquid, gel ban is lifted for air travel

Staff and wire reports

The government is partially lifting its ban against carrying liquids and gels onto airliners, instituted after a plot to bomb jets flying into the United States was foiled.

The new rules go into effect today.

That means that after passengers go through airport security checkpoints, they can purchase liquids such as water and coffee at airport stores and take them onto their planes.

Rules have also been relaxed on bringing toiletries, aerosols, powders and gels on board. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will require travelers take them on board in containers weighing at least 3 ounces or less and sealed in one quart Ziploc bags.

Washoe County Airport Authority spokesman Brian Kulpin said no installations are required of the Airport Authority.

“We’re ready for whatever may come about,” Kulpin said from the Reno/Tahoe International Airport. “Anything that will make things easier for the traveling public.”

The main concern revolved around the restrictions’ impact on the $3 billion tourism industry to the northern Nevada region. In particular, many people traveling in and out of the high desert do so with water bottles. And with the airlines burdened by lost profits and rising fuel rates, the idea of carrying enough water on board to meet the demand seemed slim with an outright ban.

“Frankly, it may be easier to make this decision in Washington, D.C., than at 5- or 6,000 feet,” Kulpin said of the tougher airport screening procedures were put in place in August.

British police broke up a terrorist plot to assemble and detonate bombs using liquid explosives on airliners crossing the Atlantic Ocean from Britain to the U.S.

At the time, the Homeland Security Department briefly raised the threat level to “red,” the highest level, for flights bound to the United States from Britain. All other flights were at “orange” and will remain at orange, the second-highest level, for now.

New procedures also were being announced for products like lip gloss and hand lotion that passengers bring to the airport. Previously, those liquids have been confiscated at security checkpoints. Now, the official said, passengers will have to put those products in clear plastic bags before going through the checkpoint, where they will be screened and returned if they are cleared.

Still, the hoards of Reno travelers will need to down their Peets coffee before approaching the security checkpoint.

“Obviously, there’s been a lot of unhappiness,” said Richard Marchi, senior adviser to the Airports Council International, an airport trade group. “They’re right to find a way to ease the burden and maintain a reasonable level of security.”

-Tribune staff writer Susan Wood contributed to this Associated Press report.

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