During testimony in Washington DC yesterday, Homeland Security boss John Kelly signaled that he is prepared to expand the current Electronics Ban to include 71 airports around the world.
His premise for this threat stems from these 71 airports not meeting the screening standards that are expected of them by US security officials. He declined to say which 71 airports he was referring to.
This list of 71 would most like include the 10 that are already on the list that prevents passengers from boarding with electronics larger than a typical smartphone.
He did say that any airport on the ‘banned list’ would have the opportunity to have itself removed if it upgraded its screening process to the level required by US Homeland Security.
For now, he did not indicated if, or when this extension would be put in place.
With all this said, it appears that Homeland Security may be softening its tone about the ban. As little as 2 weeks ago, rumors started swirling that the ban would even affect flights departing the USA. But in hearing Kelly’s comments yesterday, it appears that an airport may be exempt from a ban if it screens electronics ‘appropriately’. I suspect that most if not all US airports have the ability to appropriately screen electronics, so I’m hopeful that the ban may not be an ‘all or none’ proposition.
This morning during a televised interview, Department of Homeland Security boss John Kelly suggested that not only can an electronics ban be put in place on flights between Europe and the USA, but that it may be expanded to ALL international travel involving the USA.
During his interview, he suggested that Homeland Security and the TSA were looking at ways to ‘raise the bar’ on screening processes and to eliminate potential soft spots in air travel security..
This additional ‘threat’ comes on the heels of his comments on Friday where he did not deny the idea of expanding the Electronics Ban to include flights from the USA to Europe. The original ban threat covered only flights from Europe to the USA.
So now, in the third iteration of Kelly’s strategy, it looks like he’s going to throw a big wet blanket on all international flights operating from and to the USA.
At this point, I suspect the ban is inevitable. Kelly has been making way too much noise, and every time he speaks he seems to ratchet up his rhetoric about how laptops will do nothing but blow up airplanes. He also quipped that if Americans knew the kind of risks that are out there, we’d “never leave our house”.
Why not tell us, and let us decide.
I suspect there are no shares of airline securities in his portfolio 😉
In comments made today by Homeland Secretary John Kelly, it appears that not only is an electronics ban imminent, it may extend beyond the original expectation of the ban.
As recently as last week, a group of security leaders and airline officials from several countries had apparently tabled the idea of expanding the electronics ban on flights originating from Europe. Amazing that in a week we can go from “The Idea Is Tabled” to the potential ban being worse than initially advertised.
But now, not only does it appear imminent that a ban on electronics will happen in the not too distant future, it very well may cover flights that originate from the USA.
In his comments Kelly did not commit to the idea nor did he deny the possibility. In fact he was quoted as saying “No, they didn’t misread me” when asked about his thoughts and willingness to include flights from the USA in any ban. What was not mentioned was how far reaching the ban would be and if it would extend beyond just flights to Europe.
After a series of meetings in Brussels, involving heads of national security for the EU and USA, as well as airline security specialists it appears that an Electronics ban on flights between Europe and the USA may not be as imminent as we had feared.
In comments made by the group, it appears that there is an increased willingness for airlines to work with one another as well as will government security specialists in order to prevent the ban.
This information sharing included confidential exchange of intelligence between the EU and the Department of Homeland Security in the USA.
Critics of the ban suggest that a ban would cost passengers $1 billion in lost productivity each year and lead to a significant drop in air traffic between Europe and the USA.
According to one meeting participant, it was suggested that the electronics ban was ‘off the table’ at this point and no plans exist for implementing one in the near term.
This same group is scheduled to meeting in Washington DC next week to expand on their discussions. We can only hope that they realize how frivolous such a ban would be and continue to avoid its implementation.
Homeland Security officials announced today that they are talking to airlines and helping them prepare for an expansion of the current electronics ban.
The new warning suggests that Western Europe and other regions around the world will become subject to a policy that is currently only effect on a handful of carriers operating from a handful of North African and Mideast airports.
The ban will prevent passengers from bringing electronic devices larger than a smart phone aboard their USA-bound flights. DHS officials in their comments declined to say which regions are being targeted for the expanded ban, but did not rule out Western Europe as one of their primary focuses.
The DHS claims that it is acting on real and reliable intelligence that has led them to consider casting a wider net for the policy. No timetable has been announced for the implementation of expanded ban, but with DHS meeting with airlines to discuss the policy, the timing might be sooner than later.
Related: Electronics ban may be expanded