The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is not actively considering expanding a ban of laptops and other electronics from airline cabins to flights leaving the U.S. for other nations or on domestic legs, a spokesman said Wednesday.
DHS has been in talks with European Commission officials about extending its prohibition on electronic devices larger than mobile phones from passenger areas on U.S.-bound flights from Europe despite objections from other nations. The agency has barred the devices on flights from 10 Middle East and North African airports since March 21 out of fears that terrorists could hide explosives in them.
DHS Secretary John Kelly hasn’t reached a decision on whether to extend the ban to Europe, spokesman David Lapan said at a briefing. At least for the moment, there also is no consideration to expand it to flights departing from U.S. airports, either for international or domestic trips, Lapan said.
“We will make a decision in the best interest of the United States and given the secretary’s authority,” he said.
European officials met Tuesday in Washington with their DHS counterparts in what Lapan described as “technical level” discussions about a possible expansion.
DHS has insisted that DVD players, tablets and laptops be stowed in passengers’ checked bags and carried in the cargo hold from the 10 airports in its initial order.
While many airlines are preparing for an expansion of such restrictions to flights from Europe to the U.S., the European Union has voiced concerns and the International Air Transport Association, a trade group representing 265 carriers, said it could cost travelers more than $1 billion.
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