US DHS plans ban on electronic devices onboard aircraft from Europe

The Department of Homeland Security is contemplating to impose a ban that will restrict passengers from carrying laptops and other large electronic devices in their cabin luggage on flights from Europe to the US.

The latest move would extend an existing ban imposed by the US and UK on Muslim-majority countries, including Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE in March this year.

The ban was imposed based on intelligence that shows ISIS is attempting to find new ways to smuggle bombs in portable electronic devices, The New York Times reported.

EU commissioner for migration, home affairs and citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos was quoted by Reuters as saying: "The US and the EU are on the same side when it comes to fighting terrorism and protecting our security.”

The New York Times quoted Department of Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan as saying that the 'agency had not decided whether to extend the ban'.

Lapan said: “We’ll likely expand the restrictions.”

Under the new rule, electronic devices larger than a cell phone such as laptop computers and tablets cannot be carried onboard the aircraft.

US Travel Association executive vice-president Jonathan Grella was quoted by media sources as saying: "It is critical that the US government clearly communicate the details of this new policy and the reasons why it's needed, continually reassess it to ensure it remains relevant and effective, and actively seek protocols that neutralize threats while minimising disruption for legitimate business and leisure travellers.”