Published on Thursday, May 18, 2017

Laptop cabin ban off the table - for now

The travel industry can breathe a temporary sigh of relief after the threat of a ban on carry-on laptops and tablets on US-EU flights has been taken 'off the table', for now at least.

No ban was imposed after a four-hour meeting between EU and US officials in Brussels yesterday, but more talks have been scheduled in Washington for next week.

A joint statement said the meeting would allow them to 'further assess shared risks and solutions for protecting airline passengers, whilst ensuring the smooth functioning of global air travel'.

The industry had been sent into a state of panic after reports emerged that US officials were looking to extend to Europe a ban on electronics in cabins on flights from eight mostly Muslim countries.

The measure was introduced after a tip-off from an Israeli spy about an Islamic State plot to blow up a US-bound plane by smuggling a sophisticated bomb.

The US restrictions, introduced in March, apply to flights from Turkey, Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Experts said extending the ban to flights from Europe would affect 65 million passengers a year and could severely dent transatlantic business and leisure travel.

Pilots had also warned of the fire risk of having so many lithium batteries in the hold.


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