Canada eases flight restrictions on some items

Thu Feb 3, 2011 1:48pm EST
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada has eased restrictions on items that can be brought aboard airline flights in an effort to improve security and speed up passenger screening times, the transport department said on Thursday.

Passengers will now be allowed to board with small scissors and tools, such as eyeglass screwdrivers, that are under 6 centimeters (2.4 inches) in length, Minister of State for Transport Rob Merrifield said.

Merrifield said the revised list will allow security to focus on more serious threats, such as explosives, and bring Canada's banned item list in line with those of other countries.

Airports will be also expand use of lines for pre-approved passengers with a NEXUS card and lines designated for families. The family lines will have equipment designed for bigger items, such as strollers.

"Some of the specific changes may go unnoticed by passengers, but something they will notice is lines will be moving much faster," Merrifield said.

He estimated the measures could improve passenger screening times by 30 percent.

Passenger screenings at airports have become increasingly controversial, particularly in the United States, where some passengers have objected to the use of revealing full-body scanners and extra-thorough pat downs.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; editing by Peter Galloway)

<p>Police officers patrol at Trudeau International Airport in Montreal, January 5, 2010. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi</p>