Wed, May 25, 2011 - Page 1 News List

CAA bans torch lighters, calipers on airline flights

JUST GO NAKED:Calipers and camera tripods longer than 25cm can be used as weapons, and torch lighters can inadvertently cause fires, the aviation officials said

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

Starting next month, airline passengers will not be allowed to bring aboard torch lighters, nor will they be able to place them in checked or carry-on baggage, the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said yesterday.

Torch lighters are mainly used to light cigars.

In addition, passengers carrying camera tripods or vernier calipers longer than 25cm will need to have them checked as well.

Electroshock weapons containing dangerous items such as explosives, compressed gases or lithium batteries, are prohibited in carry-on baggage or checked baggage and cannot be carried on one’s person.

Meanwhile, passengers can bring needles and syringes aboard for health reasons, provided they report the items and secure approval from aviation police in advance.

The new security regulations will apply to both domestic flights and international flights departing from Taiwan, the CAA said.

The new regulations were introduced as the Montreal-based International Civil Aeronautics Organization under the UN recently prohibited several items in a bid to reinforce aviation security, the CAA said. While the new list of prohibited items is scheduled to be officially announced on Wednesday next week, the CAA started to ban torch lighters from airplanes in January because of a fire that occurred on a Japan Airlines flight last year.

Based on an investigation by the Aviation Safety Council (AEC), the accident involved a passenger seat that was set on fire when a torch lighter slipped between the seat cushions. The fire was extinguished before the aircraft landed safely at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

Under the new regulations, passengers are only permitted to carry on their person one small packet of safety matches or one regular cigarette lighter. They cannot place the matches or the lighter in either carry-on or check-in luggage.

Passengers found to have -lighters on them will be asked to strike the lighters to show the flame to aviation police. The lighters will be confiscated if they produce a blue flame.

The CAA banned long camera tripods from carry-on luggage because they can be used as weapons, adding that those bringing cameras that have a small, foldable tripod attachment are exempt from the rule.

The new regulations also set limitations on lithium batteries because they are pyrophoric.

Passengers can only put lithium batteries in carry-on luggage, provided they are covered in insulation tape or placed in plastic bags.

Lithium batteries in portable electronic devices, including watches, calculators, cameras, mobile phones, laptops or videocameras, can be carried aboard without prior approval.

With airline approval, passengers may carry a maximum of two lithium batteries between 100 Watt-hours and 160 Watt-hours. Batteries used to power wheelchairs or mobile aids, security-type equipment or portable medical electronic devices must observe the regulations stated in the UN Manual of Test and Criteria.

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