Intel Sharing at Heart of US, Europe Talks on Laptop Ban

Olive Rios
May 22, 2017

Passengers on flights from those locations to the USA can't carry laptops, tablets or other electronic devices larger than a smartphone in aircraft cabins.

Fears that a bomb could be concealed in electronic devices prompted the United States to announce in March it would restrict passengers from bringing devices larger than cellphones on flights originating from 10 airports, including in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey.

A congressional official said it appeared that Homeland Security was likely to expand the ban soon, but did not say when or to what airports.

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

The meeting, a portion of which was conducted in secure facilities, allowed US representatives to discuss specifics about the threat and how it is evolving, according to the USA official.

CNN explains: "US intelligence suggested that terrorists had obtained sophisticated airport security equipment that allowed them to test how to effectively hide explosives in electronic devices".

President Donald Trump's administration was reportedly considering extending the electronics ban to flight coming into the USA from European countries, but that idea seems to have been pushed aside for now, according to the Guardian.

According to the United Kingdom's Holiday Extras, the country's leader in flight booking online, over one-third of people who participated in their survey would reconsider flying to the US if a laptop ban were to be enacted.

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

U.S. Travel Association, according to CNN Money, states a lot of European travelers spend somewhere between $3,000 to $4,000 when they come to the states.

According to a terse news release issued by Homeland Security following the meeting, the group will reconvene next week in Washington, D.C., to "further assess shared risks and solutions for protecting airline passengers, whilst ensuring the smooth functioning of global air travel".

But the officials, who met for four hours in Brussels, said unspecified other measures would be considered, the BBC reported. The measure was said to have been taken in response to intelligence on terrorist threats from eight mostly Middle Eastern and North African countries.

It's also worth noting that transferring electronics into the plane's cargo compartment is also unsafe, since lithium ion batteries are known to occasionally catch fire when they are damaged or short-circuit.

At the same time, ACI EUROPE Director General Olivier Jankovec also called upon both the EU and U.S. to "reset their cooperation on aviation security" considering the huge ramifications of any wholesale ban on PEDs in cabin luggage.

The flip side of all of this is whether a laptop ban serves a greater goal.

Experts say a bomb in the cabin would be easier to make and require less explosive force than one in the hold. The current ban affects 350 flights a week, the IATA said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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