EU, US to meet Wednesday over in-flight laptop ban

Last month, the U.S. banned laptops on flights from countries including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey following fears that laptop batteries could be used to house bombs.

A senior Trump administration official told reporters that any plan to expand the restrictions on large electronic devices, such as laptops, in aircraft cabins remained under consideration.

However, EU officials were alarmed over reports that the USA was planning to extend the ban to all flights from Europe and called an urgent meeting with U.S. officials May 17. They shared details about aviation security standards and will discuss the topic further next week.

The ban would dwarf in size the current one, which was put in place in March and affects about 50 flights per day from ten cities, mostly in the Middle East.

The U.S. welcomes more than 14.5 million travelers from Europe each year – that’s 40% of all overseas visitors to America, according to research firm Euromonitor.

Already facing opposition from the European Union, the proposals are now under attack from the International Air Transport Association, which represents 265 major airlines.

The Australian Government may follow United States’ lead in banning laptops and other electronic items on flights.

“The current United States personal electronic device (PED) ban affects 350 flights per week from the Middle East and North Africa“. – Picture courtesy of wavebreakmedia/ShutterstockBRUSSELS, May 15 – The European Union will hold high-level talks with the United States in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss a possible USA airline ban on carry-on computers.

In March, the United States authorities banned passengers on direct flights to the U.S. from 10 airports in eight countries from taking laptops, tablets and other electronic devices larger than mobile phones into the cabin, for fear that a bomb could be concealed in them.

Officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security met last week with high-ranking executives of the three leading U.S. airlines – American, Delta and United – and the industry’s leading U.S. trade group to discuss the logistics of extending any electronics ban.

Any extension of the ban could affect USA and European airlines such as United UAL.N , Delta DAL.N , American Airlines AAL.O , Lufthansa LHAG.DE , British Airways ICAG.L and Air France-KLM AIRF.PA .

De Juniac also said that storing electronics in a plane’s cargo area could increase the risk of lithium-ion batteries catching fire, as reported by Reuters.

A senior European Union official who is involved in the matter and who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the commission’s concerns so far have prevented the US from widening the laptop ban to Europe.

With the USA pushing to expand the ban, and other groups suggesting it should be rolled back, we may be at a tipping point. “Airlines and airport authorities are already bracing for an imminent extension of the ban” to Europe, according to Bloomberg News.

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