USA and European Union reject expanding laptop ban to flights from Europe


Critics at the time said the move amounts to a thinly veiled attempt to favour US carriers, who have long accused Middle Eastern based airlines such as Emirates and Etihad of unfairly subsidizing long-haul business travel flights.

USA officials have defended the ban as a measure to thwart terrorist attacks, saying that intelligence shows that ISIS is developing smaller bombs that could be concealed in electronic devices.

Experts say that the original ban focused on certain countries because their equipment to screen carry-on bags is not as effective as machines in the US.

The U.S. delegation, led by Homeland Security Department Deputy Secretary Elaine Duke, wanted to hear European Commission concerns that a ban may be disruptive to the aviation system, said the official, who gave the briefing on condition that he not be identified.

The laptop ban has not been extended to flights from Europe to the United States after a key meeting in Brussels yesterday.

Here's why they're anxious: The route between Europe and the the busiest worldwide corridor in the world.

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European Union officials met Wednesday with a delegation led by Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Elaine Duke to discuss "serious evolving threats to aviation security and approaches to confronting such threats".

The proposed security measure vastly expands the ban imposed by the Department of Homeland Security in March on passengers from 10 predominantly Muslim countries from carrying devices larger than a cellphone on inbound flights to the U.S. The current ban, on flights to and from the Middle East and North Africa, he states, affects 350 flights per week - but a ban on European flights would affect 390 per day.

The internationally-respected pilots union said: "Lithium battery fires, unless caught early can spread quickly and therefore official ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) advice is that devices should be kept in the cabin so that any potential fires can be spotted and extinguished before they enter a state known as "thermal runaway" - at which point they are nearly impossible to extinguish".

Airlines will also incur additional costs due to extra baggage handling, delays due to increased baggage screening, liability due to theft/damage and potential reduced flights, according to IATA.

If the ban is expanded, Katz recommends that travelers upload vital documents to the cloud or email them to colleagues.

The meeting, a portion of which was conducted in secure facilities, allowed USA representatives to discuss specifics about the threat and how it is evolving, according to the US official. "More than 350 flights depart Europe for the USA each day, according to IATA". The IATA also said the measure would mark a dramatic expansion of the ban now in place, impacting an estimated 390 flights a day. However, it is not yet clear whether this same system would work for a much larger number of flights to many more destinations across Europe. The ban would add an additional nuisance to the the two-thirds of transatlantic passengers who travel with an electronic device larger than a cell phone.