New Information About the Possible European Electronics Ban

May 11, 2017

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Yesterday, the Daily Beast reported that the European electronics ban was near finalization and would be officially announced today, Thursday, May 11. But, the reality of any new electronics ban on flights from Europe to the US being announced today is looking unlikely. That being said, we do have some new information about it.

The biggest news that we have right now is that the electronics ban does seem like it’s in the final stages of planning. According to a source familiar with the matter, there’s a meeting today between Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and the three major US airlines. The source said that travelers who don’t want to see their electronics taken away from them on flights from Europe should reach out to their Congresspeople to voice their concerns.

According to AirlineGeeks.com, the Department of Homeland Security released a statement explicitly saying that it would not be announcing any changes to its policies today.

Also this afternoon, we learned per Reuters that the European Union has demanded urgent talks with Washington over the rumored laptop ban. The report detailed that the Trump administration is likely to expand the ban to flights originating in Europe, but the EU says that any security threats faced by the items are “common.” According to the report, European aviation security experts are meeting in Brussels today to consider responses to the possibility of an electronics ban. In addition, the EU Ambassador to the US will meet with Secretary Kelly within the coming days to discuss the issue.

In response to reports of the electronics ban expanding to Europe, Malaysia Airlines CEO Peter Bellew told Reuters that an expansion of the laptop ban would be a “pity” and would make travel more difficult for people. “I do think it is going to have a fundamental impact on travel to North America and I don’t think that is going to go away quickly,” Bellew said. In addition, the director-general of airport trade association ACI Europe said that it’s worrying that there appears to be little coordination between the EU and the US.

Also new today: Information that additional US government officials have been looped in on the possibility of a European electronics ban. According to The Hill, the White House gave senators a classified briefing on the electronics ban. A DHS spokesman said that Kelly met with “a group of Senators from relevant oversight Committees in a secure setting this morning to discuss numerous DHS activities to protect the homeland. This included discussing threats to aviation.” However, of those in attendance, no one has released any information about when to expect any kind of announcement.

Since the Reuters report was published, DHS spokesman David Lapan tweeted five consecutive statements about the rumored ban. As it turns out, the statement, which is from DHS Secretary Kelly, is actually from April 18, 2017, and not new.

So, while we might not see any official announcement today, it seems like the gears are certainly turning at the highest level and the electronics ban appears to be in its final stages before being announced. If you’re concerned about the electronics ban and what it could mean for travel, tourism or any number of other issues going forward, reach out to your representatives in Congress.

Click here for more coverage of the cabin electronics ban.

This is a developing situation. Stay tuned to TPG for further details on this situation as they emerge.

Featured image courtesy of baona via Getty Images.

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