US Homeland Security: No announcement Friday on laptop ban expansion

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Fears that a bomb could be concealed in electronic devices prompted the United States to announce in March that it would restrict passengers from bringing laptops onto flights originating from 10 airports including in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey.

The UK and the U.S. have banned laptops and tablet computers from the passenger compartment of flights from several Middle East and North African nations. Cellphones would still be allowed in cabins but virtually every other electronic device would not be permitted and would need to be stowed in checked bags.

US Department of Homeland Security spokesperson David Lapan said the agency was considering the implications of extending the ban to flights arriving from Europe, according to the New York Times.

"We're expecting something to happen, we're just not sure exactly what or when", said a senior executive at a major European airline.

The ban would affect trans-Atlantic routes that carry as many as 65 million people a year on over 400 daily flights, many of them business travelers who rely on their electronics to work during the flight.

Homeland Security officials on Thursday briefed airline representatives on a proposal to expand the ban on laptops to include more foreign flights coming to the U.S. CBS News was first to report on the plan.

"We therefore reiterate our willingness to pursue constructive dialogue and we propose that meetings are held as a matter of urgency, both at political and technical level, to jointly assess the risk and review possible common measures", wrote Violeta Bulc, EU Transport Commissioner, and Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship.

The Trump administration has said the original ban was necessary because intelligence suggests terrorists are now able to hide explosives in laptops and other devices.

According to Reuters , the usa government is reviewing how to make sure lithium batteries that get stored in the luggage don't explode during flights.

The airlines declined to comment.

But Homeland Security officials met Thursday with high-ranking executives of the three leading US airlines - American, Delta and United - and the industry's leading USA trade group, Airlines for America, to discuss expanding the laptop policy to flights arriving from Europe. The UK imposed a similar ban shortly after, although its list of countries notably excluded the large hubs in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha.

A new ban would affect all USA airlines, including American Airlines, which has a hub and a trans-Atlantic gateway at Philadelphia International Airport.

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