US and European Union Officials Discuss Laptop Ban on Flights

Posted May 19, 2017

Such a ban would dwarf in size the laptop ban now in place, which was enacted in March and affects around 50 flights a day from 10 cities - mainly in the Middle East. It said the ban had a direct impact on demand for air travel into the United States of America and it faced rising costs from introducing complimentary laptop loans to some passengers.

The International Air Transport Association, a trade group representing 265 carriers that has been critical of expanding the ban, said the meeting was welcome "but industry needs to be involved".

Flights to and from affected countries restricted electronic devices bigger than a mobile phone from the cabin, leading to fears that they could be damaged in the hold, and with people expressing concern from professionals over their productivity on flights.

It emerged from reports in the U.S. earlier this week that Al Qaeda in Yemen had figured out how to produce explosives so thin that they could be concealed in the inside of a laptop, making their detection very hard.

U.S. officials had previously said they were looking into extending to Europe a ban on electronics on flights from eight mostly Muslim countries.

Homeland Security officials say they are concerned a radicalized European citizen who may have traveled to Islamic State territory might try to plant a bomb on a US -bound plane. "These alternative measures would also avoid the concentration of lithium battery-powered devices in the cargo hold of passenger aircraft", de Juniac said.

U.S. and European Union officials are due to meet later on Wednesday to discuss aviation security, with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security having said an extension of the ban, which now affects flights from the Middle East and north Africa, was likely.

Washington has already imposed an electronics ban on direct flights from 10 North African and Middle Eastern airports.

But the airline industry has pushed back, warning that expanding the electronics ban to Europe would result in higher costs and new security threats. DHS officials have previously said no decisions about the ban have been made and conversations with US airlines remain ongoing.

As you might have heard, the USA government has announced that they will be banning laptops from being brought on board flights entering the U.S. from select Middle Eastern countries.

The original ban on mostly Middle Eastern flights, which Britain also partially adopted and is being considered by Australia, focused on certain countries because their equipment to screen carry-on bags is not as effective as machines in the USA, analysts say. According to some experts, a bomb in the cabin would be easier to make compared in the cargo. "The additional security screening time may require passengers to arrive at airports four or more hours in advance of flights". Airlines worry that a ban could decrease lucrative business travel. Tablets and laptops must be stowed in checked baggage.

While there's no ban for now, talks between U.S. and European Union air security officials are continuing.

Although a final decision has not been made, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has said that an expansion of the ban to flights originating in Europe is likely. "We have a threat and we have to be very mindful of that", Kelly said. Besides, he said, he sees plenty of business travelers who spend the flight sleeping.

Now, extrapolate what would happen when all the larger devices were taken out of the cabin and thrown in the hold with the rest of the luggage.