State-run carrier Air India has restricted passengers bound for the United States from carrying “powder-like substance” such as sugar, ground coffee and cosmetics in handbags, an airline official said today. The restriction has come after the US Department of Homeland Security issued a directive last month in view of heightened threat perception over “evolving techniques” of terrorists, he said. Air India is the only Indian carrier that operates direct non-stop flights from Delhi and Mumbai to US destinations such as New York, Newark, Chicago, Washington DC and San Francisco.
According to a spokesperson of the airline, the carrier has started implementing the directive on its flights. United Airlines of the US is the only other carrier operating direct flights from Delhi and Mumbai to American cities. The Air India directive to its passenger said “carriage of any powder or powder-like substance in hand or carry-on baggage which is 350 ml or larger is prohibited.”
Items affected will include flour, sugar, ground coffee, spices and cosmetics, it said. However, medically-prescribed powder-like substances, baby formula, and human remains (350ml) or larger may be transported in hand baggage in cabin of the aircraft, the directive available on Air India’s official website said.
“Such powders if carried in any sealed containers will be inspected for signs of alteration or tampering to the packaging and if carried in containers that are unsealed or having signs of alteration or tampering will be inspected to ensure that the contents are consistent with the container/packaging,” it said.
Duty-free powder containers inside a properly sealed Secure Tamper Evident Bag (STEB) may be allowed through the checkpoint and transported in the cabin of an aircraft, the directive said. But powder-like substance of any quantity may be placed in checked baggage and transported in the baggage-hold area of the aircraft, the directive underlined.
Passengers boarding from the UAE – a popular destination for Indians – and other Gulf countries would also be affected by the US directive. Emirates in a directive to passengers on its official website for flights to US destinations said powder-like substances in containers equal to or over 350 ml/grams have to be checked-in, and will not be allowed in carry-on belongings or cabin baggage. These items will be confiscated at Dubai as well as Milan and Athens, depending on the last point of departure. Powders under 350 ml/grams may be subject to additional screening.