World News

DHS considering expanding laptop ban on worldwide flights

DHS considering expanding laptop ban on worldwide flights

Now, the Trump administration is considering expanding its ban on laptops to commercial US-bound flights from Europe.

A senior official with a USA airline said that carriers had been in talks with government officials for weeks about the possibility of an expanded ban, mainly over the logistics of carrying it out.

The US Department of Homeland Security sparked deep concern in Europe on Tuesday when it said was close to a decision on extending to European airlines an existing ban on eight mostly Muslim countries.

Since March, large portable electronic devices like laptops, tablets and e-readers have not been allowed in the cabin on USA -bound flights from eight Muslim majority countries in the middle east and northern Africa. The UK followed suit with a similar ban on several routes.

Another, more serious issue is that placing large numbers of laptops in planes' cargo holds could risk increased danger from fires caused by their lithium-ion batteries, since such a fire in the hold would be hard to put out.

The US and United Kingdom bans were introduced due to intelligence that suggested terrorist groups targeting aviation were looking at ways to take down aircraft using bombs smuggled in consumer electronic devices.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is meeting with lawmakers in Washington D.C. Thursday to discuss expanding the ban. In March, the United Kingdom also banned electronics on some flights from the Middle East.

Initially a ban on laptops and tablets was applied only to US -bound flights from 10 airports in North Africa and the Middle East.

The UK also has an electronics travel ban in place.

Earlier this year on March 21, the United States had prohibited travelers from carrying electronic devices bigger than the smartphone into the cabins of flights taking-off from eight countries. This time, however, the ban is European countries and could even affect flights coming from the United Kingdom, a staunch ally of the US.

Airlines told CBS News that they have begun making preparations for an extended ban, with Lufthansa saying in a statement that it "has internally evaluated different scenarios for possible enhancements to the ban".


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