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United States laptop ban could expand to all flights arriving from European

18 Mai 2017

The U.S. announced on March 21 that electronic devices larger than smart phones would be banned from cabins on flights originating from eight countries, impacting global hubs including Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Istanbul.

European governments alarmed at a proposed expansion of the ban on inflight laptops and tablets to passenger planes from the EU were holding urgent talks on Friday with the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Last year, 30 million travelers flew from Europe to the US, according to the US Department of Transportation.

Some groups have already come out to oppose the new ban, they worry lithium based batteries could explode in the cargo hold.

An EU official said the two sides had agreed a high-level meeting would take place in Brussels next week, but did not say what day.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that the Trump administration was likely to include some European countries in the ban. One possible alternative could be additional screening at boarding gates, but "the logistics are very complicated", the source added.

DHS said the ban was put into effect after a number of "credible threats" gathered by intelligence agencies suggested large electronics could be stuffed with explosives.

Any expansion of the ban could impact USA carriers such as United Airlines, Delta Air Lines Inc and American Airlines Group.

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The official spoke only on condition of anonymity to discuss the plan.

But Homeland Security officials met Thursday with high-ranking executives of the three leading USA airlines - American, Delta and United - and the industry's leading US trade group, Airlines for America, to discuss expanding the laptop policy to flights arriving from Europe.

British Airways referred calls to the U.K. Department for Transport, which said it doesn't discuss security measures or comment on speculation.

But a USA official disagreed with that assessment.

Extending the restrictions to Europe would have a much larger impact on the industry than the ban in the Middle East.

"With regard to the current electronics ban and any future contemplated expansion, as well as other recent Administration actions related to travel, we urge the Administration to expeditiously set clear rules of the road so that travel industry stakeholders can serve their clients, that travel disruptions are kept to a minimum and that the traveling public can maintain confidence in an industry vital to our nation's economy", Peck said.

Alain Bauer, president of the CNAPS, a French regulator of private-sector security agents, including those checking baggage and passengers in France's airports, predicted "chaotic" scenes initially if the ban was instituted.

United States laptop ban could expand to all flights arriving from European