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Expanded Laptop Ban Could Be Announced as Soon as This Week

A new ban on select electronic devices would prohibit computers in the cabins of US-bound flights from Europe, in addition to the Middle East and North Africa prohibitions in place now.

EU regulators say that a ban on personal electronic devices covering commercial airline flights bound for the US is imminent. European airports are reportedly preparing to deal with prohibitions similar to the ones recently imposed on transatlantic flights from airports in the Middle East.

Restrictions prohibiting passengers flying on US-bound flights from carrying on any personal electronic devices larger than a mobile phone went into full effect on March 25. The original ban covered flights with origins in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Turkey and the UAE. Passengers flying to US destinations from ten airports in the affected countries are now required to place any prohibited devices in their checked bags prior to boarding.

Now, The Daily Beast is reporting that the US ban will be expanded to include most airports in Europe any day now. Citing unnamed EU officials, the news site reports that European airports and airlines are already taking steps to prepare for the new restrictions on US-bound flights.

While the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) denied that a ban for flights arriving form Europe is forthcoming, the agency admitted that an expansion of the policy is very much on the table. “No final decisions have been made on expanding the restriction on large electronic devices in aircraft cabins; however, it is under consideration,” DHS officials told the Beast on Wednesday. “DHS continues to evaluate the threat environment and will make changes when necessary to keep air travelers safe.”

Like the original policy change, the increased restrictions on European airports are said to stem from concerns that terrorists are intent on using larger-sized electronic devices to smuggle explosives onto passenger jets. DHS has not indicated, however, that the new rules are in response to any specific threat.

“Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation and are aggressively pursuing innovative methods to undertake their attacks, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items,” DHS offered in explanation of the new regulations in March. “Based on this information, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and Transportation Security Administration Acting Administrator Huban Gowadia have determined it is necessary to enhance security procedures for passengers at certain last point-of-departure airports to the United States.”

In February of last year, a Daallo Airlines flight bound from Mogadishu International Airport (MGQ) to Djibouti–Ambouli International Airport (JIB) was forced to land moments after takeoff when an explosion blew a hole in the side of the Airbus A320. The Al-Shababb terrorist group took responsibility for the attack, claiming that a “laptop bomb” had been triggered by a passenger on the flight.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

Comments are Closed.
Wombat1 May 15, 2017

Why is it not sufficient for passengers to demonstrate that they have a legitimate device by simply activating it?

Global321 May 14, 2017

How does putting the potential IED in the cargo hold help? And by placing it next to other potential IED's, doesn't that exasperate the problem? And if it was set to a timer, doesn't it give a chance for the purp to get off the plane before it takes off, while the device remains aboard? (Yes, I know they are supposed to remove luggage of non-flyers, but, is the system set up to check for gate checked devices?) This seems like an extension of an already bad idea.

sweetsleep May 13, 2017

Surely there can be an exemption for the many flyers who have TSA precheck and/or Global Entry? We have been vetted already! Why can those of us who have this NOT be allowed to bring PED bigger than a cell phone onboard?

tinbox May 13, 2017

The most ominous part of the threatened ban is the prospect of hundreds of lithium ion batteries being placed in the hold. Exactly contradicting recent moves to ban such cargos in the holds after 2 high profile cargo plane crashes. Remember the fuss about the samsung galaxy 7? Whereas crews are trained to fight such battery fires in the cabin - current fire suppression systems do not work on lithium fires in the hold - and there is no access to the crew. This ban will pose more of a threat to passenger planes than the chance that european airport security systems can't detect explosive devices in laptops.

ExitRowOrElse May 12, 2017

Just have everyone and their carry on luggage checked by sniffer dogs. Those who object don't fly. Those the dog singles out get taken to the side room.