Laptop Ban on US-Bound Flights Lifted

Technology > Security


Passengers traveling via 180 airlines and from more than 280 airports offering direct flights to the US can now bring their laptops back in the cabins with them again after the controversial ban on laptops for all airlines has been lifted by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The list included the 10 airports and nine airlines from the Middle East and North Africa caught up in the original ban announced last March.

The lifting of the ban means that those airports and airlines in the list have complied with the first phase of DHS’ enhanced security measures announced in June by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.

“There are currently no airlines under restrictions for large personal electronic devices,’’ the Department said in a statement. “Airlines worldwide have implemented additional security measures that ultimately make the global aviation community more secure.”

The so-called laptop ban triggered an international outrage, more so after the US announced that it might expand the ban to include Europe and other parts of the globe.

Strong lobbying by the European Union and opposition by airlines and the travel industry resulted in the dropping of the ban in lieu of the new requirements for airports to adopt tougher security measures that included improved overall passenger screening, heightened screening of personal electronic devices as well as increased security protocols around the aircraft and in passenger areas.

Airports will also be expected to deploy advanced technology, expand screening by dogs and establish additional pre-clearance locations for travellers heading to the US.  These will allow international travellers to go through US customs and border security before boarding their flights.

The DHS warned that they will impose additional security restrictions on airports that failed to adopt the requirements within “certain time frames.”

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed the new security requirements as an alternative to the laptop ban, saying it would work with the DHS on a phased implementation of the new measures.

Photo: RainerPrang via Pixabay