US likely to expand airline laptop ban to Europe, officials say


The DHS announced on March 21 that laptops and other large electronic devices would be banned from airliner cabins on direct flights to the US from 10 Middle Eastern airports.

At present, passengers departing from 10 airports of Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, can't take it with you into the cabin of the electronic device more dimensions than a cell phone.

The details of a potential expansion of the Trump administration's electronics ban are not yet clear. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly also was to give a classified briefing Thursday to senators about domestic threats and airline issues, Reuters reported.

While DHS spokesman David Lapan told the news agency that no official announcement would come Thursday, he did confirm DHS Secretary John Kelly met with U.S. senators from relevant oversight committees to brief them on classified issues including "threats to aviation". Any larger devices are required to be stored in checked-in luggage and therefore not used during the flight at all.

The extension of the ban would aim to address concerns that militants travelling from the Middle East with laptop bombs could connect to a US-bound flight from Europe rather than flying directly, according to an unnamed senior U.S. airline official cited by The Times. European airport security measures are closely aligned with American measures, and USA aviation security has had its own failures. The communication says that the bloc has had "a long-standing and fruitful cooperation on security" with the US and that the two should act together "to provide a joint response to shared threats", spokeswoman Anna-Kaisa Itkonen said Thursday. Kelly briefed members of Congress Thursday and held a meeting with high level executives at Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and American Airlines Group Inc. "We are acting on specific intelligence".

The action would extend a limited ban that was put in place in March. If it spreads to Europe, "it's simply a matter of time" before laptops are banned in the cabins of domestic US flights, he said.

"We're trying to make sure that there is good coordination involving airports and airlines", said Robert O'Meara, a spokesman for ACI Europe.

A final decision has not been made but what's taking shape is an expanded ban that is "likely" to contain a "substantial increase in the number of airports to include major airports in Europe", according to officials familiar with the ongoing discussions.

Homeland Security said in a statement Wednesday that the restriction was under consideration.