No laptop ban on Euro flights to USA... yet

Monday, 22 May, 2017

May 18-As U.S. Homeland Security officials met Wednesday in Brussels with European Union leaders to discuss expanding a laptop ban in aircraft cabins on flights from Europe, an airline trade group urged regulators to choose alternative security measures instead.

However on Wednesday, in a secure room in Brussels, officials from the US Department of Homeland Security and the European Union swapped intel on threats involving air travel.

No decision has been made on whether to expand the current ban imposed on March 21, which applies to 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa, the official said.

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

But a senior United States government official told reporters on a conference call that there were points of agreement and points they were continuing to discuss.

With the USA pushing to expand the ban, and other groups suggesting it should be rolled back, we may be at a tipping point.

The European Union has demanded urgent talks with the United States over a possible extension to some European countries of a U.S. ban on airline passengers taking laptops into cabins, saying any security threats faced are common.

Would a laptop ban harm your ability to travel between Europe and the US?

According to airports association ACI Europe, there are 3,684 weekly flights being operated between European airports and the United States.

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Even as travelers try to imagine a world without laptops or tablets being used in the air, the officials who have the task of implementing the measure are meeting in Brussels to work out the details of the ban.

While declining to discuss specific intelligence, the U.S.is basing its consideration of an expansion on the the evolving threat from terrorists, according to the official.

There was also the question of how safe it would have been to keep a large number of electronics with lithium batteries, which have been known to catch fire, in the cargo area.

"IATA fully acknowledges that security remains the primary responsibility of States, and we understand that the USA, the United Kingdom and other States have compelling reasons to mandate the implementation of counter-measures in response to credible threat intelligence", he wrote.

In other words, the laptop ban isn't dead just yet.

Experts say a bomb in the cabin would be easier to make and require less explosive force than one in the hold.

In Australia, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Tuesday the country may ban passengers from bringing laptop computers into the cabin on some worldwide flights.

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.

ACI Europe said that 59 European airports now have direct services to the USA with a total of 3,684 weekly flights.