Agents confiscate growing number of banned carry-on items at Ottawa airport

Agents with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority have been seeing an increase in the number of banned objects seized from passengers flying through the Macdonald-Cartier International Airport in Ottawa.

That number has increased steadily every year, with nearly 9,000 items seized in 2010 and 25,519 in 2013.

Between January 1st, 2010 and June 30th 2014, CATSA agents confiscated a total of 82,141 items from bags at security screening. Those items include dangerous goods, knives, martial arts weapons, tools and sharp items. Cigarette lighters are also commonly seized when a passenger shows up with more than one in their bag.

Knives, mostly pocket knives and Swiss Army knives accounted for nearly 25 per cent of the 11,606 items seized in 2014 alone.

Mathieu Larocque with CATSA said part of the reason the numbers are increasing steadily is because the airport has been growing.

"You have to keep in mind that last year our screening officers screened more that 2-million, in fact 2.2-million passengers at the Macdonald-Cartier International Airport," he said. "While the numbers may look impressive, it's only a very small fraction of passengers that forget that they have these things in their bag and are trying to bring things that are not permitted in carry on bags."

Larocque said in general people know by now what they can and can't bring on airplanes, but there are always those who genuinely forget they are carrying a prohibited item.

He said a number of items prohibited on carry-ons can be stowed in check baggage.

Anyone who is concerned whether they can or can not bring an item onto a plane can call or e-mail CATSA. They can also snap a picture of the item and Tweet it at them.

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