Tightening hand luggage regulations ahead of the festive season

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As the festive season approaches, Airport Company South Africa (ACSA) has introduced an initiative to strengthen hand luggage regulations aligning them with aviation safety and compliance standards.

The objective is not only to efficiently manage the surge in travelers but also to bolster ACSA’s efforts in combating criminal activities. The regulations serve as a preemptive measure, flagging potentially illegal or hazardous items in travelers hand luggage. 

“ACSA commends the aviation industry, in particular BARSA and AASA, for their support in this initiative and wishes to notify travelers that, although the regulations are not new, they will be rigorously enforced by ACSA, its partners, and stakeholders.” says Laurene Less, Group Executive: Corporate Services at ACSA. 

“The safety of our passengers is of utmost importance to ACSA. As such, the hand baggage regulations are in place to ensure that we can provide the safest possible environment for our visitors and to ensure that they have a seamless experience at our airports.”  

“The implementation of these regulations stem from a recognised necessity expressed by domestic airlines to establish consistent controls for the carriage of hand baggage on flights departing from ACSA airports. 

“This initiative is supported by international airlines, emphasizing the collective advantage of a standardised policy applicable to all flights.  According to George Mothema, CEO of BARSA, this approach ensures a uniform and fair application of policies for all passengers.” 

Essential to safety

These established principles and procedures are applicable to all flights operating at ACSA airports within South Africa, as well as regional and international flights departing from South Africa.  These regulations are considered essential, not only to uphold hand baggage policies but also to prioritise cabin and flight safety and are in alignment with global best practices. 

Aaron Munetsi, CEO of AASA, emphasizes the safety perspective, stating,  “From a passenger safety perspective, the hand baggage regulations aim to identify overweight luggage that could pose risks to both aircraft and passengers. 

“We strongly encourage compliance with these regulations, as failure to adhere will necessitate redirecting passengers to check-in counters for luggage check-in.  Hand luggage weight checks will be conducted at security points before passengers access the boarding gates. 

Arrive early and know your regulations

Due to the regulations, ACSA would like to request passengers to arrive at the airport early to allow for sufficient time to check in their baggage and ensure a seamless travel experience. Should passengers miss their flights as a result of delays, they are requested to immediately alert their airlines. 

According to the regulations, the hand baggage allowance is as follows: 

• Economy-class passengers: one bag plus one slimline laptop bag or handbag, 

• First-class passengers: two bags plus a slimline laptop bag, 

• Bags may not exceed the total dimensions of 56cm x 36cm x 23cm, 

• Weight limit per bag: 7kg, 

• Passengers who exceed the hand luggage limit will be subject to the specific airline’s excess baggage rules. 

The reference to a slimline laptop bag means that this bag is of a size and thickness specifically designed to carry a laptop and charger and does not include bags capable of carrying items such as documents, clothes and other items. 

Where an exception to the stated rules is granted by an airline to the passenger, the passenger will be accompanied to the security point by uniformed airline staff who shall confirm such exception to the security officer or official manning the hand baggage control point. 

“In line with ACSA’s zero-tolerance approach to criminality, we are confident that our hand baggage regulations will result in the reduction of criminal activities and increase passenger safety during the festive season, while at the same time also ensuring that passengers have a seamless and satisfying experience at our airports,” says Laurie Less. 

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