Sunday, 20 August, 2017

Laptop ban may expand to US-bound flights from Europe

Kelvin Reese | 20 May, 2017, 03:14

An airline ban on laptops on commercial aircraft could be expanded to include flights from some European countries to the United States.

The United States might extend its ban of larger electronic devices from the passenger cabin on flights to some European countries, the Reuters reported Wednesday citing White House officials.

The CBS report cites unnamed sources close to the DHS, who say the ban on larger devices could be expanded to flights departing for the USA from Europe and perhaps the UK.

Emirates reduced its number of flights to the USA following the ban, which led to a decrease in demand for the routes. Kelly "hasn't made a decision but we continue to evaluate the threat environment and have engaged in discussions with airline representatives and other stakeholders about the threat", a DHS spokesperson told Reuters.

Passengers traveling with affected devices will be required to store them in their checked baggage.

Several media reports have said the ban could be extended to US-bound flights departing Europe, although it is not immediately clear how soon this could take place.

Critics of the laptop and electronic device ban say placing hundreds of lithium batteries in luggage holds could present fire risks.

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The airline industry strongly opposes any move to expand the electronics ban, which could cost airlines millions of dollars in lost customers.

The U.S.in March banned in-cabin laptops and larger electronics on flights from 10 Middle Eastern and North African airports. The news comes from officials of the U.S. government.

Lufthansa has been working internally on different scenarios for responding to any extension of the ban, spokesman Helmut Tolksdorf said.

Numerous flights are operated by USA airlines such as Delta, United and American, or their European partners. "I don't have the specifics on this one, other than to say based on my experience - 31 years - you know, with the top-secret security clearance, that it must be pretty good in order to justify these measures".

Ironically, the ban itself is meant to mitigate the threat of terrorists smuggling explosive devices on board in electronic devices.

Emirates - which was directly impacted by the first electronics ban - said last month it was cutting back on flights to the US because of weak demand.

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