U.S. security officials are set to unveil new security measures that could lead to the lifting of the ban on laptops and other large electronic devices in airplane cabins, multiple media outlets are reporting.
According to CBCNews, industry and U.S. officials said that airlines flying directly to the United States will be required to implement the enhanced security measures, or their passengers may be banned from carrying laptops and other large electronics.
According to Reuters, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said that U.S. authorities want to lift the ban from the 10 airports to which it currently applies “by simply doing the kind of things we’re talking about here in terms of raising aviation security.” Homeland security officials are reportedly set to announce that those airports will no longer be under the ban if they can meet the new security requirements.
According to ABC News, the changes come after the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began testing computed-tomography (CT) scanning at one checkpoint at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, which can create a 3D image of bags that can be rotated in order to allow screeners to get a better look inside. While CT scanning is already used for screening checked luggage, the size and cost of the machines had prevented them from being used for carry-ons. The technology could potentially let passengers leave liquids in their carry-on bags, speeding wait times.
The laptop ban has caused much controversy in the travel industry, with reports circulating since shortly after its first implementation that it could be expanded to include flights from Europe, which one forecast by the Business Travel Coalition (BTC) found would affect as many as 3,500 flights per week this summer and 65 million passengers per year.
U.S. and European security officials had met multiple times over the course of the past few months in order to address the potential for terrorist groups to hide explosives in large electronics, which could be manually detonated if taken into the aircraft cabin.
The ban currently applies to 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa. Travel agents with clients that might be affected by the ban can keep an eye on the current list of airports and airlines affected here. For clients concerned about the safety of their electronic devices while they are traveling as checked baggage, we’ve compiled a list of quick travel insurance tips regarding the new electronics ban to share.