The US is looking into the possibility of expanding the existing ban on electronics from airline cabins to all inbound flights. This is part of a hardening of security measures in the country after the deadly attack in the United Kingdom last week.
US Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly made the statement in response to a question from Fox News. Kelly said, “Well, there’s a real threat. Numerous threats against aviation, that’s really the thing that they are obsessed with, the terrorists, the idea of knocking down an airplane in flight, particularly if it’s a U.S. carrier, particularly if it’s full of mostly U.S. folks, people.”
At the moment, electronics larger than a smartphone are banned from the cabins of flights originating from 13 Middle Eastern countries. The ban came into effect in late March, and since then there has been talk of the measures being extended even further.
The US is not just stopping at preventing electronics from being carried into the flight cabins. Kelly also spoke about expanding checks on carry-on luggage; expecting travellers to unpack their bags during security inspections at airport terminals.
Security measures have often been cited as being the reason for these measures, despite the fact that Kelly himself admits that there has not been an external-based terrorist attack in the US since 9/11.
It is currently said that US officials have evidence that terrorists are attempting to weaponise laptop batteries in an attempt to attack airlines. Despite this, no attack has actually been carried out as of yet. That is also not to say that a laptop in the cargo hold has less potential to bring down a plane.
For now, travellers into the US are taking extra lengths to ensure that they are able to keep valuable electronics on them. Some transiting through the Middle East have to first flying into Canada in order to avoid checking in work laptops. Airlines, like Emirates, have also been adapting to the ban by offering additional laptop handling services for free.
[Source: Fox News]