Laptop Ban On Flights To US Could Expand To Europe

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"We are concerned about the consequences that such a ban would have on demand for transatlantic air travel - and ultimately connectivity between Europe and the U.S".

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said this week that such an expansion would cost passengers $1.1 billion a year due to longer travel times and lost productivity.

As many as 65million people a year fly between Europe and North America on nearly 400 daily flights, with many of them being business travellers who rely on devices to work during the long-haul flights.

Even as travelers try to imagine a world without laptops or tablets being used in the air, the officials who have the task of implementing the measure are meeting in Brussels to work out the details of the ban.

The airlines are still talking to government officials about how a laptop ban would look at European airports.

Specifically, IATA says a laptop ban on transatlantic flights would cost $655 million United States a year in loss of productive time, $216 million in travel delays at airports and $195 million in reduced well-being. The measures, said de Juniac, would mitigate the danger of a large number of lithium battery-powered devices in airplanes' cargo holds, a prospect IATA considers an unacceptable risk.

European airline stocks continued to underperform broader markets Wednesday amid speculation that USA security officials are preparing to expand a ban on carrying laptop computers inside the cabin to include trans-Atlantic flights from the Continent that could cost passengers as much as US$1 billion.

The Airline Passenger Experience Association said if the ban is expanded, affected travelers should use cloud services to access documents and files from their phones on flights with wi-fi access, and can buy a small folding Bluetooth keyboard for their phone, or carry files on a USB drive.

He said he had contacted US, United Kingdom and European Union authorities about the matter, and urged governments to "work very closely with the industry" to develop appropriate measures to protect passengers without burdening the airline business.

The security implications of extendng the laptop and large PED device cabin ban would have been extremely serious, resulting in the cancellation of hundreds of flights over a prolonged period of weeks.

Airlines fear that expanding the ban will lead to more flight delays and increase their liability for theft or damage to electronics devices in checked luggage.

Airline and travel groups are concerned about the possibility that a ban on laptops and tablet computers that now applies to mostly Middle Eastern flights will be expanded to include USA -bound flights from Europe.

Experts say a bomb in the cabin would be easier to make and require less explosive force than one in the hold.

Three of the top USA airlines would be hit hardest by the expanded ban.

"If the ban was to go ahead, it would hit the continent's busiest airports hardest", said Olivier Jankovec, director general of Airports Council International (ACI) Europe.

U.S. and European Union officials have decided against a ban on laptops and tablets in cabin baggage on flights from Europe.

Kelly has not made a final decision on extending the ban but the department still believes an expansion is likely, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

An industry-backed group, the Airline Passenger Experience Association, said the USA government should consider alternatives.

The U.S. administration official said intelligence "continues to point to terrorist groups targeting commercial aviation and they are gradually pursuing innovative methods to undertake their attacks including smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items". This would mean that all large electronics would not be allowed in the cabins and would have to be stored in the cargo hold.

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