US ‘Considers’ Banning Laptops From All International Flights

US homeland security secretary John Kelly has said he is “might” consider banning laptops from plane cabins on all flights into and out of the US due to a “sophisticated threat”.

When asked on the Fox News Sunday breakfast television programme if he would consider expanding the ban to cover laptops on all international flights into and out of the US, Kelly, a retired general, replied, “I might.”

‘Sophisticated threat’

“We’re still following intelligence,” he said. “It is a real sophisticated threat, and I’ll reserve making that decision until we see where it’s going.”

Kelly told the programme the US plans to “raise the bar” for aviation security, in part through the use of “new technologies”.

In March the US banned laptops, tablets and other large electronic devices from cabin luggage on flights from eight Middle Eastern countries. The UK followed the move with similar restrictions on flights from six countries.

The US ban applies to 10 airports in Turkey, Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and affects about 50 flights per day, all on non-US airlines.

EU restrictions

Earlier this month reports suggested the US was considering broadening the restrictions to include flights from the UK and the European Union, routes that carry up to 65 million people a year, but so far no action has been taken to do so.

Travel safety experts have argued extensive rules obliging laptops to be placed in plane holds could cause its own safety issues, since lithium battery fires would be difficult to extinguish there.

Earlier this year United Airlines and Delta Airlines both banned the bulk shipping of lithium-ion batteries over safety concerns.

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Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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