By Dylan Bowman
Passenger processing expected to drop 25% when regulations on liquids comes into force.
Passenger processing rates at Dubai International Airport will drop by a quarter when restrictions on carrying liquids, aerosols and gels in hand luggage come into force next month, according to Dubai Civil Aviation Authority’s head of security.
Alan Skennerton said instead of screening four passengers a minute, the airport would only manage to screen three a minute.
“Going on our colleagues in other airports who have been applying these restrictions already… there is basically a 25% reduction in the passenger processing rate,” Skennerton told
Such a dramatic drop in the speed passengers pass though security could cause huge delays.
Skennerton admitted delays would be inevitable. “Certainly [the restrictions] will slow things down, but I’m hoping that after a couple of days the process will become a bit quicker,” he said.
“I suspect there will be delays for the first month or so until word gets out.”
The times when the restrictions will have the biggest impact, Skennerton said, would be between 1am and 3am and between 6am and 8am, when the airport is at its busiest.
The restrictions, which are being implemented at airports across the region, require passengers to place all liquids carried in hand luggage in individual containers no greater than 100ml.
All containers must be placed in one transparent re-sealable transparent bag, no larger than 20cm x 20cm in size, and passengers are only allowed to carry one bag each.
Skennerton said Dubai airport would not provide the bags, but that it would make them available for the first three months.
Security measures are also being imposed on duty free. Skennerton said any passengers in transit at their next destination would need to place purchased items in a sealed tamper evident bag (Steb), a transparent shopping bag provided at the customer checkout.
The biggest problem area for airport staff will be items exempt from the restrictions, he said. Under the regulations, items considered necessary for dietary or medical purposes will be allowed through in quantities greater than 100ml if they can be justified.
Similar regulations on liquids carried in hand luggage have been in place in the UK and US since last year.
Skennerton said Dubai had not put these restrictions in place sooner because the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) — the body that decides security standards for civil aviation worldwide — had not ratified them. He said there was no specific threat to Dubai.
He said threat that prompted the UK and US to up their security last year was specific to the UK and involved targeting American carriers, none of which operate out of Dubai.
airline Delta will begin flights from Dubai next month, and Skennerton said it would have the same security as some other airlines, including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, that require additional restrictions, such as an extra screening at the boarding gate.
He said liquid restrictions already applied at the boarding gate to flights out of Dubai headed for Australia and the US.