The carry-on electronics ban affecting some incoming flights from parts of North Africa and the Middle East may expand to include routes from Europe.
CBS News reported on Tuesday that the Department of Homeland Security has been considering the option ― which may even impact flights departing from the United Kingdom to the U.S. The department could announce the decision within the next few weeks.
U.S. officials have told airlines to “be prepared” for the electronics ban to broaden to nonstop, incoming flights to the U.S. from other regions, including Europe, according to Fox News.
Currently, passengers flying from 10 airports in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates cannot bring electronics larger than a cell phone in the cabin. That includes laptops, tablets, DVD players, cameras and electronic games. The ban went into effect in March.
“Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items,” said a DHS fact sheet that was released when the ban was announced. “The record of terrorist attempts to destroy aircraft in flight is longstanding and well-known.”
While the Trump administration did not say whether the policy was due to new intelligence reports, experts agreed the rule was likely based on legitimate threats. The U.K. implemented a similar ban soon after the U.S. measure.
Qatar Airways responded to the ban by loaning laptops to business-class passengers who may need to work while they are in flight, and Emirates introduced a laptop and tablet handling service. DHS has not indicated how long the ban will be in effect.