European Union demands urgent talks with Washington over airline laptop ban

The Department of Homeland Security is considering banning laptops and other large electronic devices from carry-on bags on flights from Europe to the United States, a department spokesman said on Wednesday. Travellers on flights leaving these airports are prohibited from carrying on board any electronic items that are larger than a cell phone.

The afternoon meeting included high level executives from Delta Air Lines Inc DAL.N , United Airlines Inc UAL.N , American Airlines Group Inc AAL.O and trade group Airlines for America, the sources said.

While DHS spokesman David Lapan told the news agency that no official announcement would come Thursday, he did confirm DHS Secretary John Kelly met with United States senators from relevant oversight committees to brief them on classified issues including “threats to aviation“.

The initial ban, now in place at 10 airports in eight countries, was put in place after US intelligence feared terrorists could develop bombs hidden in portable electronic devices. “This is not taking place”, Jankovec said at a CAPA Centre for Aviation industry conference near Dublin.The United States imposed the ban in March and was quickly followed by Britain which imposed restrictions on a slightly different set of routes.

One issue that had been expected to come up at the meeting was how much advance notice airlines would get to impose additional restrictions, which some airline officials say would require hiring more staff.

According to CNN, officials have said an expansion is “likely” but no decision has been made yet.

Last year, 30 million travelers flew from Europe to the US, according to the US Department of Transportation.

DHS officials plan to meet with airline industry officials on Thursday to discuss security issues, two people briefed on the matter said.

A broader ban would have a significant impact US and European carriers, which are concerned about the challenges of checking large numbers of devices.

Top European Union officials are demanding urgent meetings with the U.S.to discuss the looming ban.

The injunction was issued after U.S. intelligence officials allegedly discovered terrorist organisations, namely Islamic State, were developing a bomb that could be hidden in portable electronic devices.

John Kelly also met with senators from relevant committees today to “discuss numerous DHS activities to protect the homeland”, says a DHS spokesperson.

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