U.S. will reportedly ban carry-on laptops on all flights from Europe

20 May, 2017, 03:10 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Peter Macdiarmid  Getty Images

Two airline officials who were briefed on the discussions said Homeland Security gave no timetable for an announcement, but they were resigned to its inevitability.

Some experts believe there is also a security risk in putting them in the hold given the danger of their batteries catching fire.

The move, which would impact routes that carry as many as 65 million people a year on over 400 daily flights, would expand a ban already in place for planes flying out of eight Middle Easte and African countries.

The original electronics ban was implemented in March, and required passengers from several countries in the Middle East and Africa to check and stow laptops, e-readers, cameras and other large portable devices with their baggage before passing through security at certain airports.

The US authorities are set to ban laptops from carry-on baggage on all flights from Europe and the United Kingdom, with an announcement expected as early as today, according to reports.

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At London's Heathrow Airport, where 17 percent of all flights to the US originate, is adding an extra layer of security screening for those flights at the gates.

DHS spokesperson David Lapan said on Twitter on Wednesday that a possible expansion of the ban is "under consideration" and that no final decision has been made.

Ironically, the ban itself is meant to mitigate the threat of terrorists smuggling explosive devices on board in electronic devices.

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 RJAL.AM, Egypt Air, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways. The New York Times, meanwhile, is reporting that the ban could be extended to all flights to the United States from Europe.

Dutch Airline KLM says it is "closely monitoring developments and will make adjustments when necessary". One messy scenario could ensue when connecting flyers depart from a country where large electronics are not banned only to arrive at a European airport with a prohibited item in their carry-on bags. It said that carrying a large number of lithium batteries in the cargo compartment increases the risk of an accidental fire.

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