US likely to expand airline laptop ban to Europe - government officials

US officials have said the decision in March to bar laptops and tablets from the cabins of some international flights was not based on any specific threat

Europe is bracing for a laptop ban on flights to America

"The Commission is keen to work closely with all global partners - including the USA authorities - on identifying developing threats in aviation and the best ways to address them together", said European Commission spokeswoman Anna-Kaisa Itkonen.

Since March, large portable electronic devices like laptops, tablets and e-readers have not been allowed in the cabin on USA -bound flights from eight Muslim majority countries in the middle east and northern Africa.

It may even increase the risk of corporate laptops being lost or stolen as they are handled by airport staff, not to mention increasing the risk of lithium battery-related fires in the hold.

The ban would dwarf in size the current one, which was put in place in March and affects about 50 flights per day from 10 cities, mostly in the Middle East.

Back in March, DHS announced a laptop ban on US-bound flights from 10 airports in North Africa and the middle east, and the United Kingdom soon followed suit.

Government officials have been meeting with U.S. airlines on a almost weekly basis to discuss the topic and a decision could come in the next few weeks, according to CBS News. It could mean additional secondary screening of USA bound passengers which would likely result in delays. The official announcement is expected today. American officials were invited to Brussels next week to discuss the proposed ban, the European Union said.

DHS spokesman Dave Lapan told Reuters that department Secretary John Kelly "hasn't made a decision but we continue to evaluate the threat environment and have engaged in discussions with airline representatives and other stakeholders about the threat".

Ironically, the ban itself is meant to mitigate the threat of terrorists smuggling explosive devices on board in electronic devices.

The restriction was introduced in March over fears that bombs or explosive materials could be concealed on electronic devices brought onboard.

This surely won't make the U.S. more inviting.

The ban was first implemented in March, and is in place for USA flights departing 10 airports in Muslim-majority countries.

Even more to the point, these tests have revealed that the quantity of halon gas used in the automatic fire suppression systems of airplane cargo holds had no effect on a fire that begins as what is called a thermal runaway in a lithium-ion battery.

"You need a lot of time to inform them and a lot of time for it to enter people's heads until it becomes a habit", he said.

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