New rules for cabin baggage
As Sochi Olympic Games approach, extraordinary safety measures are introduced in Russia
By Artem Vasev
Until 21st March, passengers travelling by air within Russia will experience a total ban on liquids in the cabin of aircraft. Rosaviatsiya Federal Air Transport Agency explains that terrorists may use explosives and strong oxidizers, which appear indistinguishable from water. In 2006, three British passport-holders attempted to blow up a plane in this manner, using ‘liquid air bombs’. This inspired a worldwide change to policy on the volume of liquids carried by passengers into the cabin: no more than 100ml per bottle. The restriction covers baby food and medicine (other than that prescribed by a doctor). Of course, Belarus also implemented the restriction.
As noted by Sheremetyevo airport officials, the usual rules apply to those travelling into Russia from outside. Minsk National Airport PR representative Tatiana Minchenko confirms, “As before, on departure from Belarus to Russia, as from other countries, it will be possible to take up to 100ml of liquid on-board.”
The new rules from Rosaviatsiya have caused questions regarding baby milk and the possibility of bringing such items as nasal drops. Airlines are offering boiled water, to prepare dried milk mixes, but medicines will be decided on a case-by-case basis. Airport representatives assure us that they will do their best to accommodate passengers. Unsurprisingly, Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo social network sites have been inundated by questions from concerned passengers.
Some passengers are simply concerned at being offered enough drinks on-board, since air travel causes us to become more thirsty than usual. Svetlana Kalenik, of the Division for Transport, Certification, Registration and Foreign Economic Relations of the Aviation Department at the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Belarus, urges us not to panic. She notes that flight attendants will be on hand to bring water to passengers but that unnecessary items — such as nail varnish, perfume and other cosmetics — really need to be stowed in the hold (or applied before flight). As ever, alcohol will be forbidden. She believes that the new requirements will not cause too much disruption.
Svetlana also emphasises that it should take no longer to travel through security at the airport, since machines were previously used to check for liquids anyway. It is yet undecided as to whether similar safety measures will be introduced for Belarus’ hosting of the World Ice Hockey Championship in May. However, as the saying goes, ‘it’s necessary to blow on water, to avoid burning our fingers’.