US likely to expand airline laptop ban to include some European countries

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On Friday, a European official said that U.S. and European officials will discuss airline security at a high-level meeting in Brussels next week.

The DHS announced on March 21 that laptops and other large electronic devices would be banned from airliner cabins on direct flights to the US from 10 Middle Eastern airports.

It may even increase the risk of corporate laptops being lost or stolen as they are handled by airport staff, not to mention increasing the risk of lithium battery-related fires in the hold.

In March, the DHS banned on all devices bigger than a cell phone on US-bound flights from 10 airports located in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

Homeland Security officials briefed airline representatives on May 11, 2017, on a proposal to expand the ban on laptops to include more global flights. It could mean additional secondary screening of US bound passengers which would likely result in delays. Passengers on those routes are required to store these devices in their checked luggage.

"No final decisions have been made on expanding the restriction on large electronic devices in aircraft cabins; however, it is under consideration", a DHS spokesperson said in a statement.

An announcement is expected today, Thursday, according to several reports. DHS said the move was necessary due to terrorist threats aimed at commercial aviation.

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The Navy has been called in for rescue operations and Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is also tracking the situation. Some say it is 40-50 (persons) who were on the bridge, some say it around 30.

The move prompted the United States out of fears that a bomb could be concealed in electronic devices.

In the United States, a Capitol Hill source and a Homeland Security source told CNN on Thursday that it was increasingly likely the ban would be expanded soon.

Roughly 40% of overseas travelers to the USA come from Europe, crossing the Atlantic on more than 350 flights a day.

The U.S. airlines still hope to have a say in how the policy is put into effect at airports to minimize inconvenience to passengers.

One issue under discussion is how to ensure that lithium batteries in any large collection of devices stored in aircraft holds do not explode in midair, officials told Reuters.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) had no comment.

A United States ban on now ubiquitous laptops could cause havoc with more than 3,250 flights a week scheduled to leave European Union airports for the U.S. this summer, according to industry data.

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