Skift

Airlines

Laptop Ban May Not Be Expanded, Homeland Security Boss Hints

  • Skift Take
    Is it necessary for the DHS Secretary to deliberate so much in public? He seems to change his statements week by week. Enough, already.

    It may not be necessary to expand a ban on laptops and other large electronics in the cabins of many international flights into the United States right now, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Tuesday.

    Kelly didn’t rule out an expansion from 10 current airports, mostly in the Middle East and Africa, to all nonstop flights from Europe to the U.S., but he said he has a “fair amount of confidence” that aviation security can be raised enough to limit or eliminate some inconveniences for travelers.

    “The good news is, I think … with a fair amount of confidence, that we can raise the level overall of aviation security and not inconvenience the traveling public very much, if at all in some cases and just really add to the security and get our arms around” the situation, Kelly said.

    He said if he wasn’t so confident, “I would increase the ban,” adding that new technologies are being developed that will help enhance air travel security.

    Kelly was speaking at the International Summit on Borders in Washington and was asked about consulting with airlines and others before security policies are changed.

    Homeland Security first banned laptops and other large electronics from the cabins of flights headed to the United States from 10 cities in March amid concerns about an undisclosed threat described only as sophisticated and ongoing. The current ban applies to nonstop flights to the United States from Amman, Jordan; Kuwait City, Kuwait; Cairo; Istanbul; Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Casablanca, Morocco; Doha, Qatar; and Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. The roughly 50 affected flights are on foreign airlines.

    Since the initial ban was put in place, Kelly has said several times that he was considering an expansion to flights from Europe. Late last month Kelly said in an interview with “Fox News Sunday” that he was considering expanding the ban to all flights in and out of the U.S.

    Airlines and others in the aviation industry have balked at the possible expansion, and U.S. officials have held multiple talks with officials overseas about what might changes might be made in the future.

    An electronics ban affecting nonstop flights from Europe would impact as many as 400 daily flights carrying about 85,000 passengers.

    ___

    Photo Credit: A passenger uses an iPad on a United Airlines flight. iPads are banned on some U.S.-bound flights from the Middle East, but the DHS secretary said Tuesday the ban may not be expanded to other routes. United Airlines
    Subscribe Now

    Already a member?

    Subscribe to Skift Pro to get unlimited access to stories like these ($30/month)

    Your story count resets on {{monthly_reset}}

    Subscribe Now

    Up Next

    Free Read

    Airlines

    5 Ways 5G Will Transform the Air Travel Experience

    5G has the potential to significantly impact the air travel experience and enable numerous process improvements. Enhanced connectivity will benefit both travelers and employees by improving everything from passenger processing and security to baggage management and retail operations.

    Airlines

    Full Video: Clear CEO Caryn Seidman Becker at Skift Global Forum 2021

    Clear's previous experience vetting travelers and moving them quickly through airport security put it in an excellent position to take on the challenges of identity, health, and vaccination in the (hopefully) coming post-Covid panic world.

    Airlines

    The Enduring Impact of 9/11 on the Business of Travel

    Twenty years after that fated day, enhanced security measures are now just part of the routine of travel — and the cost of doing business across the globe.