US, EU to meet on airline security on Wednesday

Tuesday, 16 May, 2017

Airlines are bracing for the impact of a potential ban on laptops, smartphones, and other electronic devices on all airline flights from Europe to the USA, similar to the one imposed in March on flights from 10 Middle Eastern airports. Some travel groups have urged the administration to instead consider options to the laptop ban. The official asked not to be named because he wasn't authorized to speak about discussions with the government.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Deputy Secretary Elaine Duke is expected to represent the the meeting in Brussels, while Commissioners Dimitris Avramopoulos and Violeta Bulc will represent the EU.

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 ban will require you to check your computer in baggage, along will your iPads, eReaders, cameras, DVD players, and game devices.

"Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items", said a DHS fact sheet that was released when the ban was announced.

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. More than 350 flights a day travel from Europe to the U.S. And it's not just the airlines that would be hit; 40% of overseas travelers are from Europe.

Lufthansa has been working internally on different scenarios for responding to any extension of the ban, spokesman Helmut Tolksdorf said.

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It is not a secret that both of these European Airlines have a very close partnership with main U.S. operators like Delta Airlines and United Continental Holdings. "We have a meeting in Washington with airlines today on this topic, so we should know more after that".

"Our interest is to stay informed so that we have a possibility to share. information with our member states", Itkonen said, adding that two European Union commissioners would also take part.

DHS spokesman David Lapan confirmed the call and said no announcement is planned for Friday on whether the USA government will expand the ban.

Kelly met in Washington, D.C., on Thursday with US airline officials to discuss details of a possible expansion. "The key thing is to make sure the message is communicated in a coherent way".

Some European regulators have warned that the ban itself could compromise safety by placing hundreds of devices in the cargo holds on long-haul flights.

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