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US scraps plan to allow knives inside planes

June 06, 2013 13:24 IST

Bowing to pressure from lawmakers and aviation industry, a federal agency responsible for the security of airports in United States has announced to shelve its plan to allow small knives inside a plane.

"After extensive engagement with the aviation security advisory committee, law enforcement officials, passenger advocates, and other important stakeholders, TSA will continue to enforce the current prohibited items list," the Transportation Security Administration said on Wednesday.

This is an about-turn of the decision made by the TSA a few months earlier, when the agency had sought to remove knives with blades shorter than 2.36 inches from its list of items airline passengers are prohibited from carrying on planes.

The fresh decision by the TSA has been welcomed by lawmakers.

"I have always championed stakeholder feedback and am pleased to see that after adopting a thorough approach to evaluate this decision and engaging the aviation security advisory committee, the TSA has reached a sensible solution that ensures the safety and security of frontline crewmembers and the flying public," Congressman Bennie G Thompson, ranking member of the committee on homeland security, said.

"It seemed obvious to most travelers and airline employees that the decision to allow knives on planes was wrong, and we're glad the TSA, after further review and input, has  seen it our way," Senator Charles Schumer said.

"This decision will allow TSA agents to focus on more important things than measuring the length of knives, and sorting the 'good' knives from the 'bad'. Their move is the right one, and I'd like to thank them to listening to our input and the input of the flying public," he said.

Coalition of flight attendant unions, which had launched a campaign against the TSA's previous decision, also welcomed the announcement.

“It's simple: no knives on planes, ever again. We commend the efforts of TSA Administrator John Pistole to review the feedback of stakeholders who are on the front lines of aviation," it said in a statement.

Lalit K Jha in Washington