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EU may ban drinks for air travelers to curb terror threat

The European Union may prohibit airline travelers from taking drinks on board after the UK said it foiled a terrorist plot to blow up airliners using liquid explosives in carry-on baggage. Aviation officials from the 25-nation EU will decide on a possible drinks ban at a September 6-7 meeting in Brussels aimed at upgrading airport security. The UK wants stricter EU-wide rules after saying last month it uncovered a plan by Islamic terrorists to set off bombs on US-bound flights from Britain. „Limiting carry-on drinks is an issue that is expected to come up at the meeting,” Frank Smyth, a spokesman for the Irish mission to the EU, said by telephone yesterday from Brussels. An EU-wide ban on taking drinks onto planes could inconvenience travelers and might exclude duty-free beverages to avoid hurting airport revenue. The EU is considering a prohibition because X-rays used for hand luggage have a more limited ability to detect liquid explosives than the bigger screening equipment used for checked-in bags. UK police arrested 25 mostly British-born Muslims and charged 11 of them with conspiracy to murder and terror offenses after overnight raids at dozens of properties on Aug. 10. Prosecutors claim the suspects were plotting to carry liquid explosives onto trans-Atlantic flights for detonation on board. The UK probe prompted chaos at airports, with more than 2,380 flights from London canceled in the week following the arrests. (Bloomberg)