No laptop ban on Euro flights to US... yet

Pilots: Um, you want all those lithium batteries in the hold?

The European Commission (EC) and the US have pushed back against moves for a wider ban on laptops on aircraft but talks on the subject will continue in Washington next week.

Homeland security deputy Elaine Duke met two European Commissioners yesterday to discuss the need for extending the ban to flights from Europe to US destinations.

The discussion was between European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, and European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc and the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke. The two sides will meet next in Washington “to further assess shared risks and solutions for protecting airline passengers, whilst ensuring the smooth functioning of global air travel," the EC said in a statement.

In March, US authorities introduced restrictions on passengers taking laptops onto flights from Turkey, Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, amid suggestions the US spooks had uncovered a bomb plot using a laptop.

The UK then banned airline passengers on direct inbound flights from six Middle Eastern and North African countries from taking electronic gadgets bigger than smartphones – such as laptops and tablets into the cabin.

There were subsequent fears that forcing everyone to stow laptops and other large electronic devices could create a larger fire risk in aircraft holds.

The British Airline Pilots Association warned:

“Lithium battery fires, unless caught early, can spread quickly and therefore official ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) advice is that devices should be kept in the cabin so that any potential fires can be spotted and extinguished before they enter a state known as ‘thermal runaway’ – at which point they are almost impossible to extinguish.”

BAPA noted that lithium battery fires had already been mentioned in two crash investigation reports.

Russia has not adopted a European laptop flight ban, despite evidently having being briefed by the US pres...


Stop press: America is considering banning laptops on all flights into the States. Again, no final decision has been made.

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