Sunday 17 December 2017

US set to ban laptops on flights from Europe, reports say

Laptop ban

In-flight WiFi. Photo: Getty
In-flight WiFi. Photo: Getty
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

The US Department of Homeland Security is considering banning laptops and other devices from the cabins of flights from Europe.

An announcement is expected today, Thursday, according to several reports.

In March, the Department of Homeland Security banned laptops and other large electronic devices such as tablets on US-bound flights from 10 airports in North Africa and the Middle East. The UK followed suit with a similar ban on several routes.

The ban was introduced due to intelligence indicating that terrorist groups targeting commercial aviation "are aggressively pursuing" ways to take down aircraft using bombs smuggled in consumer devices, according to the Department.

It is not known which (or how many) European countries an extended ban might apply to, but it would almost certainly affect both US and European carriers.

"We'll likely expand the restrictions," David Lapan, a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security, told The New York Times.

Homeland Security secretary John F. Kelly is expected to brief senators on security today, but there is no indication as to when a wider ban may commence.

The US has been stepping up vetting and aviation security measures in recent years - a trend that shows no sign of slowing down under the Trump administration.

Critics of the laptop and electronic device ban say placing hundreds of lithium batteries in luggage holds could present fire risks.

Mobile phones are not affected by the bans.

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