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Air passengers can shop at duty free shops

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Aug 29: Air passengers can again shop at duty free shops before boarding a flight, the government said today after reviewing new security measures at airports across the country which were imposed after August 11 London terror plot.

From September 1, duty free items will be sold under a cash receipt mentioning a passenger's name, his seat number and the airline's code. But they will be handed over to the passenger just before he enters the plane.

Tighter security regulations on passengers carrying hand luggage and liquids aboard planes were imposed at British and US airports after police announced they had foiled an alleged plot to blow up as many as 10 transatlantic flights. US officials said authorities believed the suspects planned to detonate liquid explosives aboard commercial jets.

''We can't afford to lower our preparedness,'' said civil aviation secretary Ajay Prasad. ''The ban on liquids in handbags remains in tact.''

But items considered dangerous by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) or the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) -- like cigarette lighters or scissors -- will not be sold inside airport terminal buildings. ''The duty free shop owner will carry out daily anti-sabotage checks of the shop to ensure that there are no dangerous goods to preclude possibility of unlawful interference with civil aviation operations,'' said Mr Prasad.

All items will go through security checks before they are put in duty free shops. The goods will not be handed over to a passenger at the time of purchase. They will be kept in a uniquely identifiable bag to which a copy of cash receipt will be attached.

It will be the responsibility of the duty free shop owner to get the bag containing sold items checked at the security check points and have them delivered to the concerned passenger at the aircraft's gate.

On August 11, civil aviation authorities had prohibited passengers from carrying liquid items, gels and pastes, except medicines, inhalers (with prescription) and baby food in cabin baggage. That ban continues.

Officials at the India Tourism Development Corporations (ITDC) which manages several duty free shops at airports across the country estimate daily losses of Rs 10 lakh due to stringent security measures and consequent dipping sales.


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