US may expand laptop ban to all European flights

Posted May 20, 2017

USA officials have said the decision in March to bar laptops and tablets from the cabins of some global flights wasn't based on any specific threat but on longstanding concerns about extremists targeting jetliners.

Numerous flights are operated by US airlines such as Delta, United and American, or their European partners. Any larger devices are required to be stored in checked-in luggage and therefore not used during the flight at all. It could mean additional secondary screening of USA bound passengers which would likely result in delays.

On Thursday, Olivier Jankovec, the director-general of the ACI Europe airport trade association said it was worrying that there appeared to be little coordination between the European Union and the United States.

US airlines have been pushing Homeland Security to find less disruptive alternatives, according to a source familiar with the discussions.

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

The CBS report cites unnamed sources close to the DHS, who say the ban on larger devices could be expanded to flights departing for the United States from Europe and perhaps the UK.

More than 350 flights a day travel from Europe to the U.S.

"Our interest is to stay informed so that we have a possibility to share the information with our member states", European Commission spokesperson Anna-Kaisa Itkonen said.

The officials had asked that the USA and Europe continue to cooperate on a "joint response to shared threats".

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

"The bottom line is to keep terrorists with explosives off planes", said John Pistole, the president of Anderson University and a former TSA administrator.

Air France-KLM Group and Deutsche Lufthansa AG are among carriers to say they're making preparations for the moratorium on devices, including tablets and games consoles, to be expanded to their hubs after initially targeting Mideast and African airports. If one catches fire and explodes, while near other lithium ion batteries they would likely also catch fire.

The issue stems from March, when the United States imposed a slew of laptop restrictions on flights coming from as many as 10 airports.