Genoa’s Cristoforo Colombo airport waived liquids limit for hand luggage for pesto, the region’s famous sauce made of garlic, basil, pine nuts and cheese. With the ‘Il pesto è buono’ (Pesto is good) initiative, since June 1, passengers are allowed to take jars of pesto up to 500g on board, in exchange for a donation to Flying Angels, a local charity which provides flights for seriously ill children who need to travel overseas to receive care.

Schermata-2017-05-23-alle-17.53.30Genoa Airport press officer Nur El Gawohary said that the inspiration for the scheme came from airport staff: “Every year hundreds of pesto jars were seized and thrown away during security checks – a waste of food and an annoyance to our passengers.” He also explained how on board safety is guaranteed: “We use the same equipment [to check the pesto] that is used to check medicines, special foods and breast milk, which can already be brought in the cabin in quantities over 100ml.”

Passengers that want to take with them oversize pesto jars can ask for a ‘Il pesto è buono’ sticker in exchange for a €0.50 charity donation, and staff scan the jars in a special x-ray machine which has an anti-explosive device fitted. The pesto jars can only be taken on direct flights from Genoa, the pesto must be Genoese and be contained either in one 500g jar or in two 250g jars. In the first 20 days of the project, more than 500 passengers have taken part.

This is a great way to help who is in need while, at the same time, promoting a local excellence. By September, the Ligurian airport will also launch a temporary shop dedicated to local entrepreneurs, or small artisan consortia, in the departure area.

Ilona Catani Scarlett

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