The safety and security of our passengers, visitors and staff is our first priority. If it's been a while since you travelled, here's some information on what you can expect.
In compliance with the Australian Government's aviation security regulations, any person entering a secure zone of the domestic and international terminal or boarding a flight will be subject to passenger screening. This includes passengers, people accompanying passengers to the boarding gate, aircrew and airport workers.
The screening process
X-ray screening of carry-on items
Items you take onto the departures concourse must be X-ray screened. This includes carry-on bags, your wallet and items in your pockets.
Items which are unsuitable for X-ray screening, such as strollers, wheelchairs or undeveloped camera film, will be subject to secondary screening measures. Please notify the security screener if you have undeveloped camera film in your carry-on bags.
Physical inspection of personal items
If an item of baggage cannot be cleared by the X-ray equipment or by an X-ray analyst, a physical inspection will take place. You will be asked for your consent prior to the inspection taking place.
Walk-through body scanner
You must walk through a metal detector as part of the passenger screening process.
A hand scanner may be used to clear an alarm from the walk-through detection equipment. A hand scanner may also be used in a frisk search.
A physical pat-down may be required to resolve an alarm from the walk-through detection equipment. You will be asked for your consent, and you can choose the use of a private room while the frisk search is performed.
Explosive Trace Detection (ETD) screening
You and your items may be subjected to ETD screening to clear an alarm from the body scanner or walk-through metal detection equipment. Similarly, personal items may also require an explosives test, if this is determined by a screening officer.
In addition, you may be selected to undergo a random explosives test.
Passenger screening FAQs
What cannot go through passenger screening?
All cutting implements (such as knives and scissors) and sharp objects (metal cutlery, letter openers, razor blades) are prohibited items in the aircraft cabin. These items may be carried in your checked-in baggage and stored in the aircraft hold.
Beverage containers of any description (empty or otherwise) are not to be carried through the body scanner and/or walk-through metal detector for the purpose of screening and clearing. Only sealed containers (flasks, thermoses) may be submitted for X-ray screening. A beverage such as a coffee cup with lid does not constitute a sealed container as the liquid may cause damage to the X-ray apparatus.
Prohibited items which are surrendered or seized at a passenger or staff and goods screening point will be forfeited and subsequently destroyed. For more information on prohibited items, visit the Department of Home Affairs website here.
How do I pass thorugh screening quickly and safely?
- Always pack your own bags.
- Place personal items like your phone, keys, coins and medication in your carry-on bags, rather than in your pockets.
- Remove bulky outerwear clothing such as belts, coats, jackets and hats before you arrive at the screening point, and place these under the plastic clear tray cover.
- Don’t overpack carry-on bags as you may have to take an item out for a physical inspection.
- Aerosols must be removed and placed in a separate tray before X-ray screening. Place these items in one of the trays provided.
- Laptops and similar electronic equipment are to remain in a bag and placed in a tray for X-ray screening.
- Sharp, cutting or stabbing implements such as credit card knives and leathermans should be packed in your checked baggage.
- Items you surrender will not be stored or arranged for return by the airline or the airport authority.
For more information on what you can take through domestic security screening visit the TravelSECURE website.
Can I take baby products through passenger screening?
For information on travelling with children, including carry-on baby products, please visit the TravelSECURE website.
What if I require special assistance?
For information on special needs screening, including travelling with medicines, travelling with reduced mobility or medical devices and aids, and travelling with a hearing or vision impairment, please visit the TravelSECURE website.
International passenger screening
When you fly internationally from Canberra Airport, you will need to complete the passenger screening process above, as well as international passenger screening.
Powders, Liquids, Aerosols and Gels (PLAGS)
To protect against the threat of liquid explosives to aviation, there are rules for taking powers, liquids, aerosols and gels (PLAGs) on flights in and out of Australia.
PLAGs are classified as any inorganic powers, liquids, gels, creams, pastes or substances in an aerosol container. This includes water, drinks, toiletries, perfumes, cosmetics, talcum powder and food items that contain high volumes of liquids (soups, yoghurts, etc). It also applies to jam, honey and preserves.
For further information on powers, liquid, aerosol or gel items for babies or infants on international flights please visit the TravelSECURE website.
Powder restrictions on international flights
People travelling internationally will notice some changes to how they are screened at the international screening point. Passengers will be required to present all powders in their carry-on baggage separately for screening, and inorganic powders will be restricted to volumes less than 350ml per passenger in the aircraft cabin on departing flights.
Inorganic powders include things such as sand, salt, talcum powder and some types of make-up. You cannot tip powders out to fall under the 350ml/gm threshold as the restriction is calculated on total container volume.
There is no quantity restriction for organic powders such as food products, therapeutic and medical products (travelling with a medical certificate is suggested), powdered baby formula, coffee and sugar.
Domestic rules on powders have not changed, and international travellers will not need to unpack powders at the domestic screening point.
Please do not discard powders at the airport terminal which may not permitted through the screening point. These items should be surrendered to a screening officer for proper disposal.
For more information on duty-free purchases, handling powders at international screening points, powders in checked baggage, or further information on different types of powders and the rules that now apply to international travellers, please visit the TravelSECURE website.
Can I take liquids, aerosols or gels on international flights through security if I am travelling overseas?
Yes, but only if they fit within the current requirements.
All liquids, aerosols and gels that you intend to take in your carry-on baggage must be in containers 100ml in volume or smaller (this is about equal to 100g in weight). They must be carried in a transparent, re-sealable, airtight bag no more than 80 centimetres (e.g. 20×20 cm or 15x25cm).
Containers which exceed the LAGS liquids, aerosols and gels restrictions, even if partially filled, will not be permitted through the screening point.
LAGS liquids, aerosols and gels items are to be presented separately for screening and restricted to one bag per passenger, with exceptions for carers. Please place your airtight bag in a tray for screening. An item detected which contravenes the Australian Government laws cannot be taken on board an aircraft and will be surrendered at the screening point.
For information on liquid, aerosol or gel items for babies or infants on international flights, please visit the TravelSECURE website.
When checking in, airline staff will query whether you have any hazardous items in your check-in or cabin baggage. Flammable goods, gas cylinders, acids and poisons are all considered hazardous and will not be allowed on the aircraft. These may include items such as lithium batteries, bleaches, paints and some aerosol containers.
Once checked in, your carry-on and checked baggage will also be subject to security screening requirements.
We encourage you to visit the Australian Government's TravelSECURE website ahead of travel to familiarise yourself with the screening process and the rules around what you can and can't bring onboard your flight.
A number of security personnel - from a range of agencies - are deployed across the airport to monitor operations. Some may be identifiable by uniform, some may not. You may also see detector dogs in operation around the airport.
Do not leave your bags unattended at any time. Unattended baggage presents a security risk and your bag may be disposed of by security personnel. Such incidents can cause disruption to airport operations which may also cause aircraft delays until the matter is resolved.
Please remain respectful of other passengers, and airport and airline staff. Refrain from making inappropriate remarks, including hoax bomb threats, threatening passengers or crew or taking replica weapons on board a screened air service. All are considered criminal offences and will be dealt by law enforcement officers located at the airport.
Canberra Airport has an extensive closed circuit television (CCTV) system in operation, both within the terminal and car parks as well as surrounding outdoor areas. Your movements may be recorded for security purposes.
Idle vehicles within close proximity of the airport terminal represent a potential security threat. Please use the available parking facilities near the terminal at all times. Unattended vehicles may be issued an infringement notice or be towed at the owner’s expense.
Vehicles dropping passengers at the terminal are not usually idle and may be permitted to drop off passengers on the kerbside area, provided the vehicle does not ‘stand’. Any vehicle deemed to be idle may be moved on by security personnel or be issued an infringement notice.
Please use our Express Pick-up or 10 Minute Free Pick-up when collecting passengers. Private vehicles are not permitted to pick up passengers at the road kerbside immediately outside the terminal. Vehicles may not park or ‘stand’ for extended periods while awaiting arriving passengers, or while carrying out any other function.
Passengers with impaired mobility or the elderly may need immediate access to the kerbside areas for pick-up. This must be pre-arranged by contacting the airport in advance. Please refer to our special assistance page.
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