Homeland Security officials claim the ban on larger electronics in airplane cabins could expand to include more flights from airports in Europe, the Middle East and Africa unless countries agree to improve security procedures.
According to Reuters, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told a House of Representatives panel Wednesday that the agency is looking at expanding the current electronics ban to an additional 71 international airports unless the facilities can minimize the threats.
Officials from Homeland Security plan on visiting a conference in Malta next week where they will present the increased security standards to airport officials that must be met to avoid the electronics ban from being expanded to other airports.
The restrictions on laptops and other larger electronics was imposed in March and currently covers about 350 flights a week originating from 10 airports, primarily in the Middle East. The possible expansion would increase the number of impacted flights to around 400 a day and would affect 30 million travelers.
The increased electronics ban would also cause logistical challenges for airlines, airports and security officials. The ban was originally passed due to fears that a concealed bomb could be installed in devices that would be permitted onboard flights.
Kelly went on to say that many airports that could be facing the electronics ban are working to improve screening and trying to meet security standards. Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan would not identify the 71 airports that are under consideration for the expanded ban.
While the electronics ban could help avoid potential bomb threats in the cabin, concerns have been raised about lithium ion batteries from laptops and tablets could cause fires in the cargo holds of planes.
-From Travel Pulse News, June 8, 2017, by Donald Wood
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