Discussions over keeping laptops and large electronics out of more US-bound flight cabins ended yesterday without an agreement to widen the ban.
In March, the US Department of Homeland Security barred US-bound passengers from 10 airports from taking any electronics larger than a cell phone onto planes. The UK instituted a similar ban, but it covered whole countries rather than specific airports.
Earlier this month, CBS News reported talks were underway about expanding the laptop ban to cover flights between the US from Europe. That would have affected a massive number of travelers, since about 65 million passengers per year travel between Europe and North America on some 400 daily flights.
Now, the Associated Press cites an official who followed the talks who says a laptop ban is “off the table.” The decision came one day after an international group of airlines wrote a strongly worded letter to the EU and the US State Department blasting the proposed ban. The International Air Transport Association said an electronics ban would harm economies around the globe and cause an estimated $1.1 billion in lost time to customers.
While there’s no ban for now, talks between US and EU air security officials are continuing. Some airlines told the AP that despite the recent news, they believe it’s a matter of time until such a ban is instituted.
In the discussions, EU officials reportedly pressed to get more information about the ban, especially in light of the fact that President Donald Trump has admitted he shared details about the intelligence that spawned the ban during a meeting with Russian diplomats. The president has acknowledged he shared classified information about a threat involving the use of laptops on airplanes by ISIS. On Twitter, he said he did so for “humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.”
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