EU alarmed by US laptop plans | News | DW | 12.05.2017
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In-flight security

EU alarmed by US laptop plans

The suggested US extension of bans on laptop and tablet usage during flights from the EU has prompted urgent talks. A French government source said Paris would resist such strictures.

European governments and the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) hastily arranged a telephone conference Friday, with Washington saying no final decision had been made on expanding the restriction.

An electronics ban went into effect on March 21 for passengers on direct flights to the US from 10 Middle East airports in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Morocco.

According to those regulations, laptop and tablet computers, e-book readers and cameras must be placed in checked luggage. Approved medical devices are exempt, but must go through additional screening.

European Commission spokeswoman Anna-Kaisa Itkonen said DHS Secretary John Kelly and "a number" of European ministers were scheduled to hold the talks late Friday.

She added that the EU had no new information about a specific security concern.

 John Kelly (Picture-Alliance/AP Photo/C. Owen)

Urgent talks due between EU officials and DHS head John Kelly

The Associated Press quoted a French government source as saying there was no information to suggest that cabin usage of such devices posed a significant terror threat increase.

European airlines likely to be affected include Lufthansa, British Airways and Air France-KLM.

Airport trade association 'worried'

On Thursday, Olivier Jankovec, the director-general of the ACI Europe airport trade association said it was worrying that there appeared to be little coordination between the EU and the United States.

"An efficient response is really predicated on international cooperation," Jankovec said.

European regulators have already warned that placing hundreds of devices in the holds of aircraft on long-haul flights could compromise safety by increasing the risk from poorly deactivated lithium-ion batteries.

ipj/kms (Reuters, AP, dpa)

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