The European Union’s transport commissioner has warned that a simultaneous lifting of the ban on liquids on aeroplanes will have to take place across Europe if disastrous consequences are to be avoided. The ban is due to end in April 2013 but it is still not clear which countries will comply and which will not. This week, the UK said it would not be going ahead with the initial phase of relaxing the laws.

The EU’s new rules mean that all passengers on flights coming from outside the union should be permitted to carry liquids such as alcohol and perfume purchased in duty-free onto a connecting service. However, Philip Hammond, the UK transport secretary, has said this will not apply in British airports because of concerns over security.

Airport bosses are concerned that if the lifting of the ban does not take place in a coordinated manner then queues will increase as passengers make their way from a country which has relaxed the rules to a country which has not.

EU transport commissioner, Siim Kallas, said the current rules were politically unacceptable and that a number of governments seemed to be ignoring the 2013 deadline, which has been set as the date when the liquid ban will be completely lifted, because it was simply easier to keep the restrictions in place.

He added that he wanted airports to invest in new technology capable to identifying dangerous liquids. The Airport Operators Association in the UK claims that the machines are not ready, something which the manufacturers are refuting.