U.S. to Ban Laptops on All Flights From Europe, Report Says

Judith QuinnMay 13, 2017

European officials, including EU transport commissioner Violeta Bulc, underscored those concerns in a call with U.S. Secretary for Homeland Security John Kelly on Friday.

Laptops would still be allowed in checked baggage, but it is unclear how authorities would ensure lithium batteries stored in the hold wouldn't explode during the flight.

Numerous flights are operated by US airlines such as Delta, United and American, or their European partners. They spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the meeting publicly.

"We're expecting something to happen, we're just not sure exactly what or when", said a senior executive at a major European airline.

In March, the United States announced laptop restrictions on flights originating from 10 airports including in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey because of fears that a concealed bomb could be installed in electronic devices taken onto aircraft.

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 USA from Europe and perhaps the UK.

DHS also said at the time that terrorists were "aggressively pursuing innovative methods to undertake their attacks, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items". The initial ban on passengers bringing large electronics devices into the cabin hit hardest at Middle Eastern airlines.

Passengers on flights from Europe to the U.S. could soon be banned from carrying laptop computers in the cabin, USA authorities said on Wednesday evening.

Airlines are now in full preparation mode for what the source described as "the most complex issue" they've had to face since restrictions on carrying liquids were introduced.

Jeffrey Price, an aviation-security expert at Metropolitan State University of Denver, said the original ban focused on certain countries because their equipment to screen carry-on bags is not as effective as machines in the U.S. The prospect was first raised in 2014, and gained traction in recent months among USA officials who grew concerned that terrorists had renewed their efforts to create such devices. The policy included Kuwait International Airport, Cairo International Airport and Dubai International Airport, among others.

Citing former top Transportation Security Administration officials, CBS News reported that a laptop ban was being discussed for more than a year, after a laptop containing an IED exploded on a Somali airliner in early 2016.

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