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US AIRLINES TO ALLOW SMALL KNIVES

Wednesday March 13th, 2013
US AIRLINES TO ALLOW SMALL KNIVES

As of 25 April US airline passengers will be allowed to carry small knives, golf clubs and souvenir baseball bats. The move announced last month by the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA), has been permitted to conform with international standards and allow them to concentrate on more serious safety threats.

Despite anger from unions representing airline workers the TSAs David Castelveter maintains that the reforms posed no real danger, which is confirmed by an internal working group. He stated the presence aboard planes of gun-carrying pilots travelling as passengers, federal air marshals and airline crew members trained in self-defence provide additional layers of security to protect against misuse of the items.

The new policy allows passengers to carry folding knives with blades that are no more than 2.36 inches in length and less than 1/2-inch wide. It means passengers can now carry penknives, corkscrews with small blades and other knives.

Passengers will also be able to include in their carry-on luggage novelty-sized baseball bats less than 24 inches in length, toy plastic bats, billiard cues, ski poles, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks and two golf clubs.

Transport Workers Union Local 556, which represents more than 10,000 flight attendants at Southwest Airlines, called the reform 'dangerous' and 'short-sighted,' claiming the policy was designed to make 'the lives of TSA staff easier, but not make flights safer'.

They told the press: 'While we agree that a passenger wielding a small knife or swinging a golf club or hockey stick poses less of a threat to the pilot locked in the cockpit, these are real threats to passengers and flight attendants in the passenger cabin.'
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