U.S. laptop ban could be extended to flights from UK

European airlines bracing for expansion of Trump's laptop ban
Homeland Security considers banning laptops on all flights

13 May, 2017

Top EU and USA officials will hold talks today over a possible U.S. ban on carry-on computers on European flights to the United States, an EU spokeswoman said.

A European Union spokeswoman confirmed the call with EU commissioners and transport ministers had been scheduled with Kelly for Friday.

Senior U.S. administration officials have declined to elaborate on any threats that may have prompted the ban, saying only that commercial airlines are still a target of terrorists who are trying to smuggle explosives in electronic devices.

Airline industry representatives met with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on Thursday, reportedly to discuss the agency's potential plan to widen its restrictions on electronic devices, amid growing industry concern about those measures' effectiveness and impact on demand.

US officials have said the decision in March to bar laptops and tablets from the cabins of some global flights, mostly from the Mideast, wasn't based on any specific threat but on longstanding concerns about extremists targeting jetliners. They spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the meeting publicly.

CNN has reported that USA intelligence and law enforcement agencies believe that the Islamic State group and other terrorist organizations have developed new ways to plant explosives in electronic devices that could evade some common airport security screening methods. In 2016, 30 million people flew to the United States from Europe, according to U.S. Transportation Department data.

Emirates, the Middle East's largest airline, this week cited the ban on electronics as one of the reasons for an 80 per cent drop in profits past year.

USA and European carriers are concerned about the logistics of checking large numbers of devices.

One issue airlines are concerned about is how much advance notice they would have to impose additional restrictions, which some airline officials say would require hiring more staff.

An industry-backed group, the Airline Passenger Experience Association, said the US government should consider alternatives.

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

Friday's talks and this week's meetings follow a push by airlines and several countries affected by the electronics ban for more consultation with American and British regulators following the abrupt introduction in March, which largely took the industry by surprise.

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