Current security regulations that restrict air passengers to a single piece of hand luggage could be relaxed by November.
Aviation minister Jim Fitzpatrick told the Financial Times that it was likely the rules could be changed to help ease the congestion at airports that has caused long delays at busy times. Although the rules governing liquids will stay in place, passengers can look forward to taking two bags with them onboard if they wish.
“If [airport operator BAA] can get the throughput without reducing the levels of safety and security, then we’ll lift the one-bag rule without any problem, provided we’re convinced and they’re convinced,” Fitzpatrick said.
The one bag rule was adopted following last summer’s security alert but critics have argued that it is excessive, and that travel disruption ensuing from the tighter rules is tarnishing Heathrow Airport’s reputation around the world.
Passenger numbers at Heathrow fell by 1.7 per cent year-on-year in July, although BAA enjoyed its busiest ever month across all its seven UK airports.
The company also operates Gatwick, Stansted, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airports.