No laptop ban on US flights coming from Europe for now
The United States has decided against banning carry-on laptops on flights coming from Europe for now. The decision comes days after America underlined the need to "raise the bar" on airline security, including screening certain carry-on items. The ban is already in place for flights from certain regions of the Middle East and North Africa after intelligence reports that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is developing ways to hide explosives in batteries and battery compartments.
"No laptop ban on US flights from Europe for now but the option is still on the table," Homeland Security Secretary Dave Lapan announced after a call between Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and European Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos and Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc.
"While a much-discussed expansion of the ban on large electronic devices in the cabin on flights to the United States was not announced today, the Secretary made it clear that an expansion is still on the table," Lapan said in a statement.
Lapan was referring to comments by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly who in a call today with European Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos and Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc discussed aviation security.
"Kelly affirmed he will implement any and all measures necessary to secure commercial aircraft flying to the United States ? including prohibiting large electronic devices from the passenger cabin ? if the intelligence and threat level warrant it," Lapan said, after the conference call between American and European leaders, during which two other items were discussed.
Lapan said the American and European leaders agreed to raise the bar for aviation security globally, including through a range of potential seen and unseen enhancements.
"The parties also agreed to continue to work together to secure global aviation and to maintain clear lines of communication and cooperation," he said.
Over the last few months the US has continuously reached out to global aviation partners regarding serious and evolving threats to aviation, and it will continue to do so, Lapan said.
The decision comes just days after Kelly said that the US wanted to "raise the bar" on airline security, including screening certain carry-on items.
The US Transportation Security Administration has already begun testing new procedures to help security agents identify problematic carry-on items. Passengers in recent years have reportedly begun stuffing their bags with more and more items in order to avoid having to pay fees for checking bags in, leading to more clutter in carry-on bags that can be difficult for security to screen.
There are roughly 4,300 international flights that take off and land in the US each day, carrying more than a half a million passengers. That amounts to roughly 200 million passengers a year that would potentially have been impacted by the laptop ban.
(With PTI inputs)