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 😉
Brussels Airlines has announced plans to retire the majority of their existing A330 aircraft and replace them with brand new A330s as it seeks to update its fleet. According to their strategy, 7 of their 10 A330s will be swapped for new ones during 2018 and 2019.
What makes this an even bigger deal is the fact that along with the new aircraft,’SN’ will introduce an entirely new cabin interior. Business Class, Economy Privilege, and Economy will all receive substantial facelifts.
Though specifics have not yet been decided upon, I suspect the new cabin interiors will be in line with the new cabins that will be introduced by Lufthansa, SWISS, and Austrian beginning in 2018. LH Group had previously stated that they have the desire to create a standardized cabin across the Group’s airlines. With Brussels now being a wholly owned division of LH Group, it stands to reason that Brussels Airlines will benefit from the strategy.
I look forward to seeing what ‘SN’ comes up with when the new birds begin joining the fleet. I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing their wonderful Business Class product and am curious how they’ll make it even better!
Earlier today, headlines started to pop up suggesting that the TSA was entertaining the idea of expanding the current Laptop ban to include the whole of Europe, including the UK. Mind you, this is a TSA that has a 95% failure rate when it comes to screening tests.
Currently the ban applies to certain carriers operating from certain Mid-Eastern countries, so news of the ban being expanding comes as a bit of a frustrating surprise.
Homeland Security officials in the USA have not commented on this other than the generic and predictable ‘We’re considering all options and have not made any decisions’ type of worthless commentary.
Any new policy or expansion of the existing version would mean that a device larger than a ‘Smart Phone’ would be considered too large to bring aboard, including any kind of laptop or tablet device.
Maybe at this point, major US and European carriers will speak up against the ridiculous policy and sway their respective governments. Now that the shoe may be put on the other foot, lets see how non-Mideast carriers will respond.
Predictably to this point, the non-M/E carriers have not spoken out against the current ban since the existing policy hurts their competitors. Let’s see what kind of whining we’ll get if everyone has to play by the same rules, regardless of how stupid and ineffective the rules would be.
I came across an interesting video showing research and simulations that are taking place that suggest that a circular, banked runway (Think race track style) is better, safer, and more environmentally sound.
The research is being conduct at The Netherlands Aerospace Center and several advantages are being discovered with a 360 degree runway. One being the idea that you can micro-tune approaches and departures to account for wind conditions; eliminating all those enjoyable cross-wind landings we like to watch on Youtube. The research suggests that you can have 3 aircraft departing and or arriving at the same time which would reduce congestion at major airports. Also with a circular runway, aircraft would spend less time in the air holding patterns over airports which in turn would reduce air and noise pollution near the airports.
Here is the video (Courtesy of BBC) explaining the concept along with simulator work showing the effectiveness of the idea. (PS, if any of you use X-Plane 10 or 11, there’s a circular airport that is available….and it’s a blast!).
According to an article published earlier today by Bloomberg, it appears that our friends at the TSA have revised their screening policies as it relates to ‘patting down’ passengers at security check points.
Citing a 2015 study concluding that more and more weapons are making it past screening procedures, the TSA has notified its officers to be more thorough when patting down passengers. Up until now, the TSA had 5 different approaches when it came to physical contact or screening of a passenger. With the new policy, that list of 5 has been narrowed to 1, and that ‘1’ is more comprehensive than the previous 5.
A spokesman for the TSA stated that passenger will ‘notice that the new pat-down is more involved’. The TSA also said that this will apply to airline crew. The TSA randomly screens a small number of ‘known crew’ passing through ‘crew security’, but that small percentage of crew being screened will be subject to the same new scrutiny as a passengers.
According to the article, the new strategy has been quietly rolled out in smaller airports over the past 2 weeks, and is now being rolled out to airports nationwide. No mention was made if this would affect ‘Pre Check’ or similar expedited security programs.
Turn and Cough……