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EU, US to meet Wednesday over in-flight laptop ban

17 Mai 2017

Even though European airports and airlines are preparing for a ban, no action has been announced as officials continue their talks.

"With the current administration agenda, I fear that is only likely to get worse", he said.

captionBritish Airways first class.sourceBritish AirwaysHarteveldt's concerns lie with the fact that such a ban will disproportionately affect business travelers - a highly-lucrative customer base airlines flying across the Atlantic need to make ends meet. "I think you're looking at a substantial uproar from the business community over this".

The EU's home-affairs chief cautioned against any hasty decision by officials in Washington.

He said it would slow passage through security checks as people try to negotiate a way of keeping their laptops.

That may be bad news for airlines who count heavily on business travel for profitability.

European Union and US transport and security officials will meet in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss USA plans to broaden an in-flight ban on laptops and tablets to include planes from Europe. Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos told U.S. Secretary for Homeland Security John Kelly in a phone call on Friday that the potential threat affects the European Union and the U.S in the same way, that information should be shared, and that the responses should be common.

"No decisions have been made on expanding the restriction on large electronic devices in aircraft cabins; however, it is under consideration", the agency said in a statement.

Officials have also been aware of Islamic State and al-Qaeda efforts to construct a bomb inside a laptop for years, and have consistently updated airport screening procedures to keep pace, Cohen said. More than 350 flights a day travel from Europe to the U.S. And it's not just the airlines that would be hit; 40% of overseas travelers are from Europe.

Run TV station under attack in east Afghanistan
The Taliban also has a strong presence in the area but the group said it was not involved. At least 16 people, including journalists, were wounded in the attack.

Earlier this week, European Commission officials took the unusual step of writing to Kelly and US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao urging them to share information about expanded security actions on electronics.

The existing in-cabin device bans focus on the Middle East and North Africa, so traveler reaction has been relatively isolated.

Either way, United States carriers and airports are grappling with how to comply with an expanded ban.

With travelers required to put their electronics in checked baggage, the danger is increased many times over, since a fire will be hard to detect and impossible to extinguish.

Are US airports equipped to handle additional screening volumes given that they already screen incoming worldwide baggage, plus connecting bags?

European regulators have warned that placing hundreds of devices in the hold on long-haul flights could also compromise safety by increasing the risk of fire from poorly deactivated lithium-ion batteries. "Indeed, there have been two crashes where lithium batteries have been cited in the accident reports".

"A Hobson's choice, for sure".

Administration officials said the move was meant to prevent terrorists from sneaking a bomb into a flight cabin, where it's easier to detonate and likely to have more lethal impact than a bomb stowed in the cargo hold.