Aviation

U.S. likely to expand airline laptop ban to Europe: Officials

WASHINGTON: The Trump administration is likely to expand a ban on laptops on commercial aircraft to include some European countries, but is reviewing how to ensure lithium batteries stored in luggage holds do not explode in midair, officials briefed on the matter said on Wednesday.

Any expansion of the ban could impact U.S. carriers such as United Airlines, Delta Air Lines Inc and American Airlines Group, reports Reuters.

Six U.S. and European officials said they expect the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to make an announcement but declined to say when.

In March, the U.S. announced laptop restrictions on flights originating from 10 airports including in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey because of fears that a concealed bomb could be installed in electronic devices taken onto aircraft.

Britain quickly followed suit with restrictions on a slightly different set of routes. One European official acknowledged that the expanded ban could affect flights to the United States from Britain.

DHS spokesman Dave Lapan said Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly “hasn’t made a decision but we continue to evaluate the threat environment and have engaged in discussions with airline representatives and other stakeholders about the threat.”

Kelly will give a classified briefing on Thursday to senators about domestic threats and airline issues are expected to be discussed, a congressional aide briefed on the matter said.

The U.S. laptop ban has affected direct flights to the United States by Royal Jordanian Airlines, Egypt Air, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways.

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