US and EU officials delivered mixed messages this week on whether a ‘laptop ban’ could be extended to transatlantic flights.
The announcement of an extended ban on personal electronic devices (PEDs) larger than a smart phone in aircraft cabins was expected following a call between US Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, European Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos and EC Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc.
After the call, a senior EU official said there would be “No ban. Both sides have agreed to intensify technical talks to try to find a common solution.”
Yet within hours, a statement on behalf of Kelly contradicted the message coming from Europe, saying the proposed ban was “still on the table”.
The Department of Homeland Security said: “Secretary 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.”
However, US officials said there would be no announcement on the proposals this week.
The proposed extension of the ban has been criticised by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
The US Department of Homeland Security introduced a ban on PEDs in cabins on flights to the US from eight mainly-Muslim countries in March.
The restrictions include flights to the US from Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha operated by Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways, but not flights by US airlines operating from the same airports
The UK followed suit with a modified ban on PEDs in cabins on all flights, including those operated by UK airlines, from six countries but excluding the UAE and Qatar.
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