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Air security: Commission draws up EU-wide list of prohibited articles on passenger aircraft

The Commission has adopted a Regulation that, for the first time, sets out an agreed EU-wide list of …

The Commission has adopted a Regulation that, for the first time, sets out an agreed EU-wide list of items that are not allowed to be taken on aircraft by passengers. The primary purpose of the legislation is to give clear and unambiguous information to passengers flying from EU airports as to which objects will be confiscated at airport security checkpoints. This is another step in the Commission policy of seeking high standards in the field of civil aviation security through the setting of harmonised rules, said Vice President de Palacio.

The Commission has adopted a Regulation laying down a list of articles that are clearly prohibited from being carried by passengers onto all flights from European Union airports. The new legislation also requires national authorities to inform passengers of the content of this list before the check-in procedure is completed. The list could, for example, be published within the check-in area of an airport to allow passengers to dispose of the listed objects, for example by placing them in hold luggage rather than simply having objects confiscated at an airport security checkpoint.

The list of prohibited articles is not exhaustive since it is always possible to devise new potentially dangerous types of weapon. If, however, an appropriate authority wishes to prohibit an object not contained on the EU list, it should duly inform the passenger accordingly before the check-in procedure. Law-enforcement authorities will of course still be entitled to confiscate any unlisted articles that, based on an individual on-the-spot local risk assessment, are deemed potentially dangerous.

Nonetheless, for most objects and most passengers the existence of this new Commission Regulation should ensure a more transparent and thus more comprehensible system than is currently practised.

The Commission also decided on a similar, but shorter, list of those articles that are banned from being transported in the hold of an aircraft (i.e. in the checked luggage of passengers). Common rules are also set to cover the use of otherwise prohibited articles by staff in security restricted areas. This includes the use of tools for maintenance and repair purposes.

The Commission will update this list in a speedy manner with the help of a Committee(1) with representatives of Member States.


Passengers are not permitted to carry the following articles into the security restricted area and the cabin of an aircraft:

a) Guns, Firearms & Weapons

Any object capable, or appearing capable, of discharging a projectile or causing injury, including:

  • All firearms (Pistols, Revolvers, Rifles, Shotguns etc)

  • Replica and imitation firearms

  • Component parts of firearms,(excluding telescopic sighting devices & sights)

  • Air pistols, rifles and pellet guns

  • Signal flare pistols

  • Starter pistols

  • Toy guns of all types

  • Ball Bearing Guns

  • Industrial Bolt and Nail Guns

  • Cross bows

  • Catapults

  • Harpoon & Spear Guns

  • Animal Humane Killers

  • Stun or shocking devices e.g cattle prods, ballistic conducted energy weapons (taser)

  • Lighters shaped like a firearm.

b) Pointed/edged Weapons & Sharp Objects

  • pointed or bladed articles capable of causing injury, including:

  • Axes & hatchets

  • Arrows & darts

  • Crampons

  • Harpoons & spears

  • Ice axes & ice picks

  • Ice skates

  • Lockable or flick knives with blades of any length

  • Knives, including ceremonial knives, with blades of more than 6 cm, made of metal or any other material strong enough to be used as a potential weapon.

  • Meat cleavers

  • Machetes

  • Open razors and blades (excluding safety or disposable razors with blades enclosed in cartridge)

  • Sabres, Swords & swordsticks

  • Scalpels

  • Scissors with blades more than 6 cm in length

  • Ski and Walking/Hiking poles

  • Throwing stars

  • Tradesman`s tools that have the potential to be used as a pointed or edged weapon e.g. drills and drill bits, box cutters, utility knives, all saws, screwdrivers, crowbars, hammers, pliers, wrenches/spanners, blow torches.

c) Blunt instruments

any blunt instrument capable of causing injury, including:

  • Baseball and softball bats

  • Clubs or batons rigid or flexible – e.g. Billy clubs, blackjacks, night sticks & batons

  • Cricket Bats

  • Golf Clubs

  • Hockey sticks

  • Lacrosse sticks

  • Kayak and Canoe paddles

  • Skateboards

  • Billiard, snooker and pool cues

  • Fishing rods

  • Martial arts equipment e.g. knuckle dusters, clubs, coshes, rice flails, num chucks, kubatons, kubasaunts

d) Explosives and flammable Substances

any explosive or highly combustible substances which poses a risk to the health of passengers and crew or the security / safety of aircraft or property, including:

  • Ammunition

  • Blasting caps

  • Detonators & fuses

  • Explosives and explosive devices

  • Replica or imitation explosive material or devices

  • Mines & other explosive military stores

  • Grenades of all types

  • Gas & gas containers e.g. Butane, propane, acetylene, oxygen – in large volume.

  • Fireworks, flares in any form and other pyrotechnics (including party poppers and toy caps)

  • Non safety matches

  • Smoke generating canisters or cartridges

  • Flammable liquid fuel e.g. Petrol / gasoline, diesel, lighter fluid, alcohol, ethanol.

  • Aerosol spray paint

  • Turpentine & paint thinner

  • Alcoholic beverages exceeding 70% by volume (140% proof)

e) Chemical and Toxic substances

any chemical or toxic substances which poses a risk to the health of passengers and crew or the security / safety of aircraft or property, including:

  • Acids and Alkalis e.g. spillable `wet` batteries

  • Corrosive or Bleaching Substances – e.g. mercury, chlorine

  • Disabling or incapacitating sprays – e.g. mace, pepper spray , tear gas

  • Radioactive material. – e.g. Medicinal or commercial isotopes

  • Poisons

  • Infectious or biological hazardous material. – e.g. infected blood, bacteria and viruses

  • Material capable of spontaneous ignition or combustion.

  • Fire extinguishers

  • The following articles shall not be placed in hold baggage:

  • Explosives, including Detonators, fuses, grenades, mines and explosives

  • Gases: Propane, butane

  • Flammable liquids, including Gasoline, methanol

  • Flammable solids and reactive substances, including Magnesium, firelighters, fireworks, flares

  • Oxidizers and organic peroxides, including Bleach, car body repair kits

  • Toxic or infectious substances, including Rat poison, infected blood

  • Radioactive material, including Medicinal or commercial isotopes

  • Corrosives, including Mercury, vehicle batteries

  • Vehicle fuel system components which have contained fuel

  • (1) by means of the Regulatory Committee created by Regulation 2320/2002