Homeland Security Laptop ban on flights to US 'likely' to expand

Posted May 19, 2017

They also shared details about their aviation security standards and detection capabilities, and agreed to meet again in Washington next week "to further assess shared risks and solutions for protecting airline passengers, whilst ensuring the smooth functioning of global air travel", according to a joint statement. He spoke on condition of anonymity to release details of the sensitive negotiations.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is "well aware" of views from airlines, airports, other nations and other stakeholders, Lapan said.

European airline stocks continued to underperform broader markets Wednesday amid speculation that USA security officials are preparing to expand a ban on carrying laptop computers inside the cabin to include trans-Atlantic flights from the Continent that could cost passengers as much as US$1 billion.

The Department of Homeland Security sparked deep concern in Europe last week when it said it would soon decide on extending the ban to European airlines.

Such a ban would dwarf in size the current one, which was put in place in March and affects about 50 flights a day from 10 cities, mostly in the Middle East. The U.S.in March imposed a ban imposed on electronic devices larger than mobile phones - including tablets, laptops and DVD players - in cabins on flights from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa.

As many as 90 percent of passengers carry affected devices, the group estimates, meaning that implementing ad hoc screening checks and loading devices into aircraft cargo compartments would cause significant delays and cancellations.

Lapan said talks would consider the "scale and scope" of what the laptop ban might entail.

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.

"It's not like losing your water bottle or your scissors".

"We are not sure that this ban is adapted to the threat", International Air Transport Association director Alexandre de Junaic told Bloomberg Television.

Earlier Wednesday, airline industry lobby group IATA warned the ban could cost passengers as much as US$1 billion in extra fees. That could include routinely testing laptops for chemical residues associated with bombs, requiring owners to turn on their devices, and letting frequent travelers keep their electronics with them.

A United States ban on now ubiquitous laptops could cause havoc, with more than 3,250 flights a week scheduled to leave European Union airports for the USA this summer, according to industry data.

The initial ban has hit Middle Eastern airlines hardest.

At the Delta area of the Cincinnati airport, a sign warned passengers that beginning Friday on flights returning to the US any electronic devices other than a cellphone would have to be placed in checked baggage.

A Delta spokesman said the sign was posted in error by an employee at the airport.

Hinnant reported from Paris.