Laptop Ban Could Be Lifted With New Security Measures
September 20 2017, 08:11 | Alonzo Simpson
DHS to announce new aviation security measures
According to CBCNews, industry and US officials said that airlines flying directly to the United States will be required to implement the enhanced security measures, or their passengers may be banned from carrying laptops and other large electronics.
Compliance with the new rules could lead to the lifting of a ban on laptops and other large electronics already in place for airlines flying to the United States from 10 airports in the Middle East and Africa. Airlines that failed to satisfy new security requirements could still face future in-cabin electronics restrictions, the sources said. The updates affect 280 airports in 105 countries running about 2,000 flights daily - adding up to 325,000 passengers every day.
John Kelly, the U.S. secretary of Homeland Security, announced today that the new measures were being put in place.
"I am concerned that we are seeing renewed interest on the part of terrorist groups to go after the aviation sector", Kelly said today.
He said they will include tougher screening, particularly of electronic devices, plus new technology and procedures to protect planes from so-called insider attacks by airline employees. The roughly 50 affected flights are on foreign airlines.
The U.S. imposed restrictions on laptops in March on flights originating at 10 airports in eight countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and Turkey.
"Terrorists want to bring down aircraft", Kelly said during a conference in Washington, D.C.
The DHS officials said it would be "a mistake" that puts "passengers at risk" if they don't comply.
European airline groups said in a document reviewed by Reuters that if the threats are confirmed, the restrictions should be deployed to cover all EU departing flights, not just us -bound flights.
Kelly met with senior airline executives in May and Homeland Security officials have had repeated meetings with US airline executives. The agency says the move is a way to address the threat that intelligence suggests is looming without having to do an all-out laptop ban.
The new measures couldn't come soon enough for experts like Robert Mann, analyst at R.W. Mann & Co, who told Reuters that current screening of carry-on luggage "can't tell the difference between a block of cheese, a romance novel and a block of semtex plastic explosives because they're all about the same density".
One big issue facing policymakers was the potential safety implications related to past problems with laptop batteries and storing large numbers of laptops in the cargo hold.