Airlines discuss expanding laptop ban with US Homeland Security


An electronics ban went into effect on March 21 for passengers on direct flights to the United States from 10 Middle East airports in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Morocco.

Electronic devices larger than a smartphone were banned from carry-on luggage on flights from 10 airports in the Middle East and Africa back in March.

DHS spokesman Dave Lapan said 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".

What we're talking about is the ban on electronic devices being used in commercial airline cabins.

While DHS spokesman David Lapan told the news agency that no official announcement would come Thursday, he did confirm DHS Secretary John Kelly met with USA senators from relevant oversight committees to brief them on classified issues including "threats to aviation".

"This is not taking place", Jankovec said at a CAPA Centre for Aviation industry conference near Dublin.The United States imposed the ban in March and was quickly followed by Britain which imposed restrictions on a slightly different set of routes.

The official said U.S. Homeland Security Department Secretary John Kelly told European ministers over the phone Friday that the department does not plan immediate any new measures.

Storing laptops in the cargo hold raises another risk: lithium ion battery fires that could create an explosion and bring down an airplane.

"Just from London-Heathrow Airport, there's about 110 flights a day that fly to the US - it presents a challenge of how do you do that in a way that is efficient and effective", Pistole said.

Emirates, one of the several airlines whose U.S. flights are affected, have cited the electronics ban as a factor behind its decision to cut underperforming flights to the country. "It will take more time to negotiate", he said.

Bloomberg reported that two travel trade groups, the Global Business Travel Association and the U.S. Travel Association have already issued statements in this regard, stressing on the need for genuine security risks to be addressed, but urging the DHS to be as flexible as possible. On the operational side, measures such as stopping online check-in for USA bound flights or ensuring US flights depart from a dedicated part of terminals are among ideas being mulled, although no decisions have yet been taken.

"Commissioner Bulc highlighted the potential safety implications of putting a large number of electronic devices in the aircraft hold", a European Commission spokesperson said.