Extended cabin laptop ban rejected

Extended cabin laptop ban rejected

The threat of a widened cabin laptop ban to flights between the US and Europe has been rejected, in the short term at least.

US and EU officials decided against a ban on laptops and tablets on flights from Europe.

But officials said other measures were still being considered following a four-hour meeting in Brussels to discuss the threats to aviation security, the BBC reported.

US officials had previously said they were looking into extending to Europe a ban on electronics on flights from eight mostly Muslim countries – prompting intensive aviation industry lobbying against such a measure.

The measure was introduced over fears a bomb could be concealed in a device.

The meeting was requested by the EU after recent reports suggested US authorities had new information regarding laptop parts being turned into explosives.

Details of a specific threat have not been made public.

An EU source described the briefing as vitally important.

The authorities had been assured by their US colleagues that the meeting signalled the start of an era of better communication on security issues under president Donald Trump.

“Both sides exchanged information on the serious evolving threats to aviation security and approaches to confronting such threats,” the Commission said in a statement.

The US restrictions, introduced in March, apply to devices “larger than a smartphone” from the cabins of flights from Turkey, Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

The UK issued a similar ban on flights from six countries.

Steve Landells, a safety expert at the British Airline Pilots Association, said there was a greater risk of lithium battery fires if larger devices were kept in an aircraft’s hold.

“Given the risk of fire from these devices when they are damaged or they short circuit, an incident in the cabin would be spotted earlier and this would enable the crew to react quickly before any fire becomes uncontainable,” he said.

“If these devices are kept in the hold, the risk is that if a fire occurs the results can be catastrophic; indeed, there have been two crashes where lithium batteries have been cited in the accident reports.”

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