European Union officials to evaluate airline laptop ban

"These alternative measures would also avoid the concentration of lithium battery-powered devices in the cargo hold of passenger aircraft which is deemed to create an additional safety threat", De Juniac wrote. The prospect has alarmed European Union officials, who want to know more about any new threats and the disruption such a move would create. Baggage in cargo usually goes through a more sophisticated screening process than carry-on bags.

Michael McCormick, executive director of the Global Business Travel Association, said he believes the threat identified by security officials is real, but the laptop ban will hurt business travel, at least in the short term.

Officials with the European Union have been trying to pry details from US officials who have been pushing for the ban as a means of reducing the threat that such devices can be used by terrorists. The agency declined to comment Wednesday but said last month's guidance was still valid.

The official spoke only on condition of anonymity to discuss the plan. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly hasn't made a final decision but an expansion is "likely", Lapan said.

A senior U.S. Homeland Security official was meeting Wednesday with European Union officials to discuss a likely expansion of a carry-on ban on laptops and electronic devices on U.S. -bound flights, after President Donald Trump disclosed highly classified intelligence to Russian Federation about a laptop-related terror plot.

Be prepared for another indignity: The White House is considering new rules that will prevent passengers from carrying laptops aboard flights from London and several European cities to the U.S. And such a proposal wouldn't just inconvenience customers; it has the potential to devastate the airline industry by driving away customers and leading to a sharp drop-off in bookings and profits.

Emirates, the Middle East's largest airline, this month cited the ban on electronics as one of the reasons for an 80 percent drop in profits a year ago.

In the past, IATA, which represents the interests of the world's airlines, has argued that the current ban - and by extension, any additional bans - is unnecessary, ineffective, and harmful to travelers, the travel industry, and the economy at large.

The media reported last week that the Trump administration was likely to review the current ban, expanding it to USA airlines. The UK instituted a similar ban, but it covered whole countries rather than specific airports. "It will take more time to negotiate", he said. "After a week of quite big difficulties, 95 percent of people will understand the practicalities". Travis Katz, co-founder and CEO of Trip.com, tells Travel Agent that imposing a ban "sends a signal of distrust to a region we've long enjoyed warm relations with".

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The attack came as Spain's National Cryptologic Center announced a "massive ransomware attack" against Spanish companies. A ransomware attack appears to be spreading around the world, leveraging a hacking tool that may have come from the U.S.


The British Airline Pilots' Association said the United States plan was potentially "catastrophic".

De Juniac added that the airline industry recognizes "that the USA, the United Kingdom and other states have compelling reasons to mandate the implementation of countermeasures in response to credible threat intelligence".

The U.S.is considering expansion of a ban on laptops in airliner cabins on flights not only from Europe but from other regions as well, as objections against any broader restrictions mounted.

At the Delta area of the Cincinnati airport, a sign warned passengers that beginning Friday on flights returning to the US any electronic devices other than a cellphone would have to be placed in checked baggage.

A Delta spokesman said the sign was posted in error by an employee at the airport.

The tiny handful of people that still like the idea of going to America are in luck, as USA and European officials have negotiated a way to stop us from being banned from taking anything larger than a smartphone into aeroplane cabins.

Hinnant reported from Paris.

Information for this article was contributed by Michael Birnbaum, Lori Aratani and Annabell Van den Berghe of The Washington Post and by Lorne Cook, Lori Hinnant and Ken Guggenheim of The Associated Press.

  • Michelle Webb