U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has revealed in a recent interview on Fox News Sunday that laptops may soon be banned from aircraft cabins on all flights into and out of the country, as part of a ramped-up effort to protect against potential security threats, Reuters is reporting. Kelly added that the government is planning to “raise the bar on airline security”, including strict screening of carry-on baggage.
Kelly explained that the move would be part of a broader airline security effort to combat what he called “a real sophisticated threat”, although he said no decision had been made as to the timing of any ban. “That’s the thing that they are obsessed with, the terrorists, the idea of knocking down an airplane in flight, particularly if it’s a U.S. carrier, particularly if it’s full of U.S. people”, said Kelly.
“We are still following the intelligence,” he said, “and are in the process of defining this, but we’re going to raise the bar generally speaking for aviation much higher than it is now.”
Airlines are concerned that a broad ban on laptops may erode customer demand. But none wants an incident aboard one of its airplanes.
“Whatever comes out, we’ll have to comply with,” Oscar Munoz, chief executive officer of United Airlines (UAL.N), told the company’s annual meeting last week. “We’ve had constant updates on the subject,” he said. “We know more than most. And again, if there’s a credible threat out there, we need to make sure we take the appropriate measures.”
Earlier this year, the U.S. government banned large electronic devices in aircraft cabins on flights from 10 airports, including the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Turkey.