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Since the electronics ban was first implemented back in March, it took all of the affected airlines operating from 10 airports across eight countries by surprise. They were immediately faced with finding ways to disrupt the flying experience as little as possible for passengers while complying with the new requirements. But, little reasoning for the ban was given, except that the Department of Homeland Security said that intelligence indicated that terrorist groups are continuing to target commercial aviation. Now, it looks like there may be an end in sight for the electronics ban.
The DHS announced that it’s unveiled enhanced security measures that will prevent the agency from expanding the electronics ban any further. European officials also followed suit with the same announcement and advanced security measures, and both US and European officials said that the advanced security measures will be implemented within the next three weeks.
What Airports Are Doing
Although the DHS wasn’t able to completely detail what those measures would entail, it did outline some possibilities. As listed on the DHS website, they could include:
- Enhancing overall passenger screening;
- Conducting heightened screening of personal electronic devices;
- Increasing security protocols around aircraft and in passenger areas; and
- Deploying advanced technology, expanding canine screening and establishing additional preclearance locations.
This is a positive development overall, as it lowers the likelihood that an electronics ban will be expanded (as long as the airports comply). Even better, those already affected could become exempt from the electronics ban. The DHS announcement outlined how the 10 airports that already have an electronics ban will be handled. The statement reads:
“The current PEDs [personal electronic devices] restriction implemented in March 2017 will be removed should the 10 airports comply with the enhanced security measures outlines in the TSA directive issued June 28, 2017 and when such procedures are verified by TSA inspectors.”
This most recent announcement from the DHS shows that it’s willing to allow airports to implement more rigorous security measures for US-bound flights instead of imposing a ban on all flights. Since the ban was first announced and implemented earlier this year, there’s been concern about loading electronics that could be loaded with bombs or unpredictable lithium-ion batteries in the cargo hold without any supervision.
How Passengers Are Affected
Of course, with advanced security screening procedures being implemented, it’ll likely slow down the process for travelers. What might that mean? Arriving at the airport earlier and preparing for more rigorous procedures. According to Reuters, the new measures would affect 325,000 airline passengers on about 2,000 commercial flights daily arriving in the US from international destinations. More specifically, those flights are coming from 280 airports in 105 countries on 180 airlines. Suddenly, the stakes are higher for airports in countries that were never suspecting they’d be a part of an electronics ban.
This most recent announcement is generally positive news. It gives airports specific security requirements that they must comply with, and it gives those already affected the opportunity to reverse the ban altogether. Plus, travelers headed to the US can feel safer knowing that there are tighter security measures in place.
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