Life&Culture

Brace for Chaos If US Expands Airline Laptop Ban

Brace for Chaos If US Expands Airline Laptop Ban

"The Commission will host high-level talks at a political and technical level with the USA authorities this Wednesday afternoon May 17 in order to jointly assess any new threats and work towards a common approach to address them", European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told a daily EU news conference on Monday.

The Department of Homeland Security is planning on extending this ban that now exists on flights from 10 countries in the Mideast and North Africa to the European Union because of concerns that terrorists have the capability to build bombs into laptops. At the time, US officials cited fears that terrorists could turn those tech tools into bombs - so they required passengers to check them in their luggage.

Officials in the U.S. homeland security department met last Thursday with executives from major United States airlines to discuss expanding the ban to flights arriving from Europe.

European regulators have warned placing what could be potentially hundreds of devices in the hold on long-haul flights could compromise safety by increasing the risk of fire from poorly deactivated lithium-ion batteries.

The Trump administration is likely to include some European countries in the in-cabin ban on gadgets larger than cellphones and is reviewing how to ensure lithium batteries stored in luggage do not explode in midair, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

"The question remains whether the targeted application of policies banning personal electronics is an effective measure to reduce the risk of terrorism, " Michael McCormick, GBTA executive director, said in a statement on Thursday.

More than 350 flights a day travel from Europe to the U.S. But, it's not just the airlines that would be hit. Past year the Obama administration revised a program that allowed citizens of about 38 countries, mostly in Europe, to visit the U.S. without a visa on trips of 90 days or less.

After the previous round of bans, the U.S. asserted that there was no specific new threat, and that it was just a precaution, given that extremists have long targeted airplanes.

Air France-KLM Group and the Deutsche Lufthansa AG say they are working to freeze devices such as games consoles and tablets.

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

The U.S. laptop ban and on other electronic devices larger than cell phones has affected direct flights to the United States by Royal Jordanian Airlines, Egypt Air, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways.


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