Colin McConnell/Torstar News Service
Peanut butter is one of the most common liquid-like substances passengers are being forced to toss at airport security, a press conference heard yesterday.
Officials collect roughly 600,000 bottles of banned liquids, gels and aerosols at Pearson Airport each week.
And with about 85,000 travellers passing through the airport every day, that works out to about one prohibited item per person, said Yves Ducharme, director for the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority.
“People are becoming complacent about their security. The threat of liquid explosives is very real,” said Ducharme, standing in front of a heaping two-metre pile of bagged bottled water, shampoo and hand cream containers.
Most of these items are trashed, he said, because the contents can’t be verified. “The result is unnecessary wait times and waste. I urge travellers to keep security in mind as they prepare for their holiday trip,” he said.
Travellers are restricted to 100 millilitres of liquid gel and aerosol items on flights in Canada, the United States and Europe. The substances must be in a clear, re-sealable plastic bag no bigger than one litre.
The majority of seized items are voluntarily surrendered by passengers. Ducharme could not comment on the number of banned substances passengers try to smuggle past security.
Christmas is the busiest travel time of the year with up to 100,000 people flying through Pearson every day. Hopefully, those holiday passengers will remember the restrictions are for a reason, said Peel Insp. Bob Strain.
“Liquid explosives were the weapon of choice for a group of would-be bombers recently in the United Kingdom. Fortunately, they were intercepted and arrested,” he said, referring to an incident in August of last year.
Over at Terminal 1’s departure line, Derek Candy twirls a bottle of water in his hand as he inches forward to check his bags.
“Oh man. I totally forgot. I guess I’d better finish this,” the 21-year-old said.