American authorities are preparing to potentially ban portable computers on all flights heading for the United States (US) owing to a “genuine threat.” This was indicated yesterday (Sunday) by John Kelly, the US Secretary for Homeland Security.
Kelly, speaking on Fox News, said, “There is a genuine threat…It is particularly a terrorist obsession: to bring down a plane in flight, especially an American plane, packed with Americans on board.”
On March 21st, American authorities had prohibited passengers from ten airports in eight Arab countries and Turkey from transporting certain devices in the cabin. These included laptops, tablets and other electronic devices larger than a mobile telephone.
They then made it clear that these restrictions could be extended to other regions, including Europe. The US have information from intelligence services that a laptop could be used to detonate a bomb on-board an aeroplane.
US experts and the European Commission are stepping up contacts to discuss the conditions of this potential prohibition. A US prohibition on laptops will cause chaos in European airports. Figures from the airline industry say that there are some 3,250 flights per week anticipated between European Union countries and the US this summer.
The eight countries whose airports are affected by the current prohibition on large electronic devices on flights destined for the US are Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco.