Published on Thursday, June 29, 2017

US to strengthen airport security, avoiding expanded laptop ban

The US will relax the current cabin electronics ban but only if airlines adopt much more stringent security measures.

Department of Homeland Security officials haven't disclosed exactly what those measures are but airlines and airports will be responsible for implementing them.

It would include enhanced screening of electronics and increased security at airports including tighter screening of airport workers.

It would impact about 280 airports around the world which have direct flights to the US, affecting more than 300,000 travelers daily.

"It is time that we raise the global baseline of aviation security. We cannot play international whack-a-mole with each new threat," said DHS secretary John Kelly.

"The good news is we found a way to raise the bar worldwide, but at the same time not inconvenience the traveling public," said Kelly.

Kelly says the vast majority of airlines will be able to comply with the new measures.

Those that cannot will result in the banning of electronics on flights - in carry-on bags and checked luggage.

It could also mean the right to fly to the US is revoked.

Any changes will be phased in over time but some could take effect by this summer.

It will likely involve new explosive trace detection equipment to scan devices at overseas airports and more bomb sniffer dog patrols.

US airline trade body Airlines for America said there has been little input from the aviation industry.

"We believe that the development of the security directive should have been subject to a greater degree of collaboration and coordination to avoid the significant operational disruptions and unnecessarily frustrating consequences for the traveling public that appear likely to happen,"  said A4A chief Nicolas Calio.


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