United States laptop ban could be extended to flights from UK

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European governments alarmed at a proposed expansion of the ban on inflight laptops and tablets to passenger planes from the EU were holding urgent talks on Friday with the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Some European terminals may soon be added to the list of 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa from which the U.S. has prohibited passengers to board with laptops and tablets, according to "three sources briefed on the meeting", Reuters reported. The initial ban on passengers bringing large electronics devices into the cabin hit hardest at Middle Eastern airlines.

The injunction was issued after U.S. intelligence officials allegedly discovered terrorist organisations, namely Islamic State, were developing a bomb that could be hidden in portable electronic devices.

The Department of Homeland Security held a conference call with "key European partners" on Friday, over reports that the U.S.is considering expanding the laptop ban to all 60 European airports with direct-U.S. flights.

"We'll likely expand the restrictions", Lapan said in a statement.

If confirmed, the ban would heighten tensions between the European Union and U.S., which have been at pains to see eye to eye under President Donald Trump.

The meeting, which was set to include officials from Delta Air Lines (DAL), American Airlines (AAL) and United Airlines (UAL), took place Thursday, and airline representatives have also aired their worries about the restrictions to Congress, Bloomberg reported.

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Roughly 40% of overseas travelers to the US come from Europe, crossing the Atlantic on more than 350 flights a day.

"Just from London-Heathrow Airport, there's about 110 flights a day that fly to the USA - it presents a challenge of how do you do that in a way that is efficient and effective", Pistole said.

The International Civil Aviation Organization met on Tuesday to debate the issue after the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and other countries complained their airlines had been unduly penalized by the decision, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

One European official acknowledged that the expanded ban could affect flights to the United States from Britain.

European regulators warned that placing hundreds of devices in the hold on long-haul flights could compromise safety if poorly deactivated lithium-ion batteries catch fire.

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

Two airline officials briefed on the discussions said DHS gave no timetable for an announcement, but they were resigned to its inevitability.

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