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This week, the European Aviation Safety Agency expressed concern over the ban on carry-on electronics that the governments of both the UK and the US have implemented recently. The Agency, which is responsible for air safety in 32 countries, said that many of the personal carry-on electronics that have been relegated to the cargo hold on several Middle Eastern and African airlines pose a specific security risk due to the flammability of their lithium-ion batteries.
The Germany-based agency recommended that computers and other larger electronic devices should be completely powered off and ‘protected from accidental activation.’ It has stressed that if a fire were to accidentally start in the cargo hold of a passenger jet, the damage would be ‘catastrophic’ because, according to the European Cockpit Association, it may not be possible to fight a fire started in the cargo hold as a result of so many lithium ion batteries being packed so close together.
Ever since it was leaked and then formally announced, the electronics ban has been fraught with controversy — US government officials claim that they have intelligence suggesting that larger electronics like laptops are susceptible to be repurposed as devices that can cause fatal damage to aircraft. The latest recommendation from EASA is likely to continue the debate — many airlines and other groups have expressed skepticism over the ban, claiming that it’s ineffective and poorly thought out.
Featured image courtesy of Emirates.
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