US could ban laptops on all flights to the US

first_imgTravellers in the US likely face additional delays and tighter scrutiny checks of hand luggage regardless of whether the Department of Homeland Security extends its controversial laptop ban to all flights into the US.The proposed US laptop ban was back in the spotlight over the weekend after DHS boss John Kelly told Fox News on Sunday that he could extend to all flights in and out of the US the ban preventing passengers from taking laptops and other large electronic devices into aircraft cabins.A ban has already been in place since March on direct flights from 10  Middle Eastern and North African destinations and the US recently caused a furore when it suggested the ban could be extended to Europe.Talks have since been underway between US and European officials without any news of a resolution.The DHS had previously played down suggestions of a global ban but Kelly reignited the issue Sunday when he told Fox News that this was a possibility.Asked if was going to ban laptops from the cabins of all international flights both “into and out of the US”, Kelly said; “I might’’.“There’s a real threat … there are numerous threats against aviation,’’ he said. “That’s really the thing they’re obsessed with, the terrorists, the idea of knocking down an airplane in flight, particularly if its US carrier, particularly if it’s full of mostly US folks.’’On the question of when a decision might be made, Kelly said the DHS was still “flowing the intelligence”.“The very, very good news again is that we are working incredibly close with friends and partners around the world … and in the process of defining this we’re going to raise the bar generally speaking for aviation security much higher than it is now.’’“And there (are) new technologies down the road that we’ll rely on but it is a real, sophisticated threat and I’ll reserve that decision until we see where it’s going.’’The US Transportation Security Administration is testing tighter security requirements that require people bringing carry-on baggage to unpack it and separate out items such as food, paper and electronics.Pointing to airline policies to generate more revenue by charging people for checked baggage, Kelly said people trying to avoid fees to check bags were stuffing their carry-on bags to point where they could not get any more in.This meant that TSA personnel were unable to tell what was in the bags.Asked whether the tougher checks would be expanded nationwide, Kelly said: “We might and likely will.“What we’re doing now is working out the tactics, techniques and procedures if you will in a few airports to find out exactly how to do that with the least amount of inconvenience the traveller.’’last_img

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