The Laptop Ban - Ban It or Expand It?

British Airways A380First_F154

British Airways A380First_F154

Last week there were reports claiming that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was just about ready to ban any laptops from being in the passenger cabin on any flights between the European Union and the US.

However, IATA wrote to U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and European Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc on Tuesday expressing "serious concern" regarding the expanded ban, the reports said.

The proposed expansion of a USA ban on laptops and other large consumer electronics in cabins could land more of these devices in the luggage hold, creating the risk of accidental battery fires, officials have said.

The UK then banned airline passengers on direct inbound flights from six Middle Eastern and North African countries from taking electronic gadgets bigger than smartphones - such as laptops and tablets into the cabin.

They discussed "existing aviation security standards and detection capabilities" as well as security improvements "related to large electronic devices placed in checked baggage", it added.

Talks in Washington next week will "further assess shared risks and solutions for protecting airline passengers, whilst ensuring the smooth functioning of global air travel".

Potential plans to ban tablets and laptops from cabin baggage on flights between Europe and the U.S. have reportedly been shelved ...

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While the proposed ban is still in the proposal stage, it could go into effect at any time.

The measure was introduced over fears a bomb could be concealed in a device.

The prospect has reportedly alarmed European Union officials, who want to know more about any new threats and the disruption such a ban would create.

Airlines and aviation experts are concerned that storing a large number of devices containing lithium ion batteries inside a plane's cargo hold could cause a fire, which would be hard to extinguish because fire suppression systems work by depleting an area of oxygen. Eastern to include additional details about the meetings between European and US officials. "These alternative measures would also avoid the concentration of lithium battery-powered devices in the cargo hold of passenger aircraft", de Juniac said.

The US official noted terrorist groups were "aggressively pursuing innovative methods to undertake their attacks, including smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items" onto commercial flights.

"IATA fully acknowledges that security remains the primary responsibility of States, and we understand that the U.S., the United Kingdom and other States have compelling reasons to mandate the implementation of counter-measures in response to credible threat intelligence", he wrote. It would be an expansion to an existing United States laptop ban on flights from ten Muslim-majority countries.

American and European officials met Wednesday to discuss a potential expansion of the ban, which reportedly could be broadened to include all flights from Europe.

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