U.S. authorities are considering banning carry-on computers on European flights to the United States, widening the security measure introduced for flights from eight countries in March, an official said May 9, 2017.
An electronics ban went into effect on March 21 for passengers on direct flights to the U.S. from 10 Middle East airports in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Morocco.
The U.S. ban on large electronics in the cabin of flights from 10 African and Middle Eastern airports went into effect this March.
A DHS official told HuffPost that the department is still just exploring the possibility of extending the ban and did not comment on reports that it could apply to Europe.
But a USA official disagreed with that assessment.
Staff then pack and check electronics at the gate, under procedures introduced by several airlines, making the devices less vulnerable to being stolen from standard checked baggage.
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DHS spokesman David Lapan confirmed the talks but said no announcement was planned on whether the USA government would expand the ban. The announcement is expected Thursday.
Ironically, the ban itself is meant to mitigate the threat of terrorists smuggling explosive devices on board in electronic devices.
The original laptop ban was put into place amid growing concerns that terrorists could use laptops and other devices to smuggle bombs on board flights.
Officials have said recently an expansion is "likely". A new ban would affect all US airlines, including American Airlines, which has a hub and a trans-Atlantic gateway at Philadelphia International Airport. "I don't have the specifics on this one, other than to say based on my experience - 31 years - you know, with the top-secret security clearance, that it must be pretty good in order to justify these measures". Results showed the extinguishers proved useless in putting out a lithium-ion battery fire. The head of the International Air Transport Association, Alexandre de Juniac, told CNNMoney in March that it wasn't an appropriate solution to the threat, would hurt the airlines affected, and should be overturned.
The ban was first implemented in March, and is in place for U.S. flights departing 10 airports in Muslim-majority countries.