Carry-on baggage rules will be relaxed under a shake-up of aviation security announced by the Federal Government today.
The changes will see passengers again allowed to carry some sharp implements, such as nail files and clippers, umbrellas, crochet and knitting needles on board aircraft from July next year.
Metal cutlery will return to return to cabin meals and airport restaurants following Government recognition that security arrangements must be targeted at 'real risks'.
The measures are contained in the Government's Aviation White Paper released today, a blueprint for aviation in Australia, covering security, safety, economics, consumer protections, consultation over noise and urban growth, greenhouse gas emissions, and issues of staff training and access for remote and regional services.
The Government has baulked at setting up a centralised aviation security screening authority, arguing it would be "overly prescriptive, more expensive and less responsive to passengers".
Instead the Government wants to have more stringent processes for authorising screening authorities (generally airports, airlines or their contractors).
And security staff at airports will be subject to more frequent background checks and penalties imposed for not reporting convictions.
In addition, screening of turbo-prop aircraft will be the same as for jet airliners, a recognition that the size and impact of the two types of planes are increasingly similar as turbo props grow in size and passenger capacity.
Cargo planes will have to have reinforced cockpit doors, like passenger airliners, from 2014.
On the environment front, greenhouse gas emissions from domestic airlines will be included in the proposed emissions trading scheme, but the emissions management of international airlines and Australian airlines flying overseas will be handled by global aviation industry body, the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
The ownership rules of Qantas will change, with the Government signalling it will lift the restriction on foreign airlines holding no more than 35 per cent of the national carrier (or 25 per cent private foreign individual holdings) while maintaining the overall restriction that foreign investment in Qantas does not exceed 49 per cent.
The community will be consulted to a greater extent over expansion of aviation services, with the establishment of an Aircraft Noise Ombudsman, maintaining existing airport curfews and ensuring urban development doesn’t clash with aviation operations.
A decision on a second Sydney airport has been deferred pending a review by an expert panel, although there is likely to be greater sharing of civilian and military air space, signalling the greater use of military airfields for civilian use.