Published: Mon, May 15, 2017
Industry | By Faith Ward

Europe is bracing for a laptop ban on flights to America

Europe is bracing for a laptop ban on flights to America

One European official acknowledged that the expanded ban could affect flights to the United States from Britain.

Earlier this week, the International Air Transport Association held a separate meeting in Washington with airports and members of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, two aviation industry sources said.

The move prompted the USA out of fears that a bomb could be concealed in electronic devices.

The ban is already in place on flights from some Middle Eastern and African countries.

"We'll likely expand the restrictions", he said. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the plan, said the primary questions revolved around when and how - not whether - the ban would be imposed.

CNN has reported that USA intelligence and law enforcement agencies believe that the Islamic State group and other terrorist organizations have developed new ways to plant explosives in electronic devices that could evade some common airport security screening methods.

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Caroline Bremner, head of travel at research firm Euromonitor International, said that before President Trump took office the US was expected to see 85.2 million airline passenger arrivals by 2020.

"Just from London-Heathrow Airport, there's about 110 flights a day that fly to the USA - it presents a challenge of how do you do that in a way that is efficient and effective", Pistole said. Approved medical devices are exempt, but must go through additional screening.

USA and European carriers are concerned about the logistics of checking large numbers of devices. Both US and European officials have said that they're waiting on the US Department of Homeland Security to make an announcement, but it is not yet clear as to when that might happen.

A French official with direct knowledge about Friday's meeting said France planned to push back against the measure, saying there was no information to suggest a significant increase in the terror threat. The UK announced that it was in close contact with the United States government and intelligence agencies, prompting speculation about possible threats involving large electronic devices. It said the ban had a direct impact on demand for air travel into the USA and it faced rising costs from introducing complimentary laptop loans to some passengers.

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

The affected countries are in North Africa and the Middle East and include Turkey.

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