US and EU to Discuss Electronics Ban and Airline Security Wednesday

May 15, 2017

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Representatives from the US government and the European Union will meet Wednesday to discuss airline security and the potential expansion of the electronics ban on aircraft headed from Europe to the US.

“The Commission will host high-level talks at a political and technical level with the U.S. authorities this Wednesday afternoon May 17 in order to jointly assess any new threats and work towards a common approach to address them,” European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said at an EU news conference on Monday.

It was reported last week that the new electronics ban was near finalization but because of pushback from the EU, the new rules were delayed. The meeting was organized last Friday on a call between US Homeland Security Department Secretary John Kelly and EU ministers.

The US fears that explosives may be hidden inside an electronic device that would then be detonated on board an aircraft. The EU is worried that if you force everyone to check their electronics in the hold, it could lead to lithium-ion batteries malfunctioning and causing an explosion or fire. The European Safety Aviation Safety Agency said in April that the electronics ban actually poses a safety risk due to the flammability of lithium-ion batteries.

The electronics ban was originally implemented in March and affected 9 carriers from 10 Middle Eastern airports flying to the US. The UK implemented a similar moratorium shortly after the US announcement.

Signs were also spotted at the Delta terminal in the Cincinnati airport (CVG) last week warning passengers that they would only be able to bring a cell phone on board on flights returning to the US and that all other electronic devices would have to be checked. Cincinnati has a nonstop flight to Paris (CDG), indicating that the Department of Homeland Security may have been warning airlines that an electronics ban could start affecting European flights. Delta took the sign down and said it was posted in error.

H/T: Reuters

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