Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
Life&Culture | By Rose Hansen

EU, US hold 'robust' talks on possible airline laptop ban

EU, US hold 'robust' talks on possible airline laptop ban

European negotiators have dissuaded USA security officials from imposing a ban on electronic devices in the cabins of flights to America - at least for the time being.

The airlines still hope to have a say in how the policy is put into effect at airports to minimise inconvenience to passengers.

Moreover, almost half of all business travelers said in a recent survey they want to stay connected in flight so they can get work done.

Affected airports may also need to change their gate allocation system for USA -bound flights and start the boarding process far earlier to accommodate the additional screening procedures.

"Beyond the immediate operational impact, we are concerned about the consequences that such a ban would have on demand for transatlantic air travel - and ultimately connectivity between Europe and the United States", ACI Europe director Olivier Jankovec added in a statement.

U.S. airlines are resigned that a broadened ban on electronics will occur at some point, one industry official told Bloomberg News on Friday.

As US and EU officials discuss expanding Washington's ban on laptops and tablets to European flights, the Australian government is thinking about a similar prohibition. The gathering is taking place "in order to jointly assess any new threats and work towards a common approach to address them", European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told reporters in Brussels earlier this week.

Alain Bauer, president of the CNAPS, a French regulator of private-sector security agents, including those checking baggage and passengers in France's airports, predicted "chaotic" scenes initially if the ban was instituted.

"It's not like losing your water bottle or your scissors".

USA preparing to sue Fiat Chrysler over excess diesel emissions
Producers argue an exemption from the rules that allows them to turn off emission control systems for safety or engine health. The case regards use of defeat devices, which can lead to higher NOx emissions outside the test cycle.

Carriers impacted by the existing ban have reported a slide in US load factors as some travelers take alternative routes, though that will become less of an option in the event of expanded curbs.

Emirates - which was directly impacted by the original electronics ban - said last month it was cutting back on flights to the us because of weak demand. DHS will need time to update current screening technologies and retrain bomb-sniffing dogs, at which point the ban could potentially be relaxed.

The Airline Passenger Experience Association said if the ban is expanded, affected travelers should use cloud services to access documents and files from their phones on flights with wi-fi access, and can buy a small folding Bluetooth keyboard for their phone, or carry files on a USB drive.

The wait at baggage claim for the collection of checked laptops is also a "big negative", while handing over devices or using loaners may not be an option for some firms keen to safeguard sensitive information.

"If some flights' options allow certain electronics or provide substitutes", Surry said, "it may sway the traveler's decision about which airline to fly".

Hinnant reported from Paris.

Information for this article was contributed by Michael Birnbaum, Lori Aratani and Annabell Van den Berghe of The Washington Post and by Lorne Cook, Lori Hinnant and Ken Guggenheim of The Associated Press.

Corrects to Friday, sted Saturday, in second to last paragraph.

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