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US airlines meet Homeland Security officials over laptop ban

Three major US carriers have met with national security officials to discuss a possible expansion of the ban on taking laptops onboard aircraft flying to the US.

Delta, United and American Airlines, plus trade group Airlines for America, are reported to have held talks with US security officials in Washington DC on Thursday (May 11).

The meeting came as speculation mounts that the Department of Homeland Security may extend the existing ban on larger mobile devices to flights from the UK and Europe.

The current US ban, which applies to laptops, tablets and larger smartphones, is being enforced on US-bound flights from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.

But Greeley Koch, executive director of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE), said there were “more questions than answers” about the so-called laptop ban and its possible extension to transatlantic routes.

“Why did the US and the UK target different countries for the initial ban, and why didn’t other countries follow suit?” asked Koch.

“Why are laptops the target of such a ban despite the United States’ investment in airport security and screening procedures? If the ban is implemented more broadly, will other countries institute their own policies that can further complicate the travel picture?”

Koch added that while “everyone supports greater security”, travellers also deserved “better solutions” from governments.

“This ban disrupts business travellers’ ability to travel and remain productive - adding it to the list of disastrous, cumbersome airline security policies we’ve seen over the years, from restrictions on liquids to removing shoes at security checkpoints,” he added.

 

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