U.S. Plans New ‘Enhanced’ Security Measures for Flights to the U.S. in Lieu of Laptop Ban

By Paul Riegler on 28 June 2017
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Security checkpoint at London-Heathrow

Security checkpoint at London-Heathrow

The much ballyhooed laptop ban on flights to the United States is unlikely to come into play as officials Wednesday announced new, more rigorous screening requirements for larger personal electronic devices at airports.

In a briefing with reporters, Department of Homeland Security officials said that the changes will be both “seen and unseen” and could include additional screening for travelers and their devices. The change might also include the expansion of Preclearance, a program in which U.S. Customer and Border Protection officers conduct customs and immigration screenings at international airports prior to departure.

“DHS developed these new enhanced security measures to effectively mitigate threats to aviation with minimum passenger inconvenience,” the agency said in a statement.

Officials declined to say when the enhanced measures might be put into effect but hinted that some changes might come as early as this summer, adding that not all of the new security measures will be noticeable by passengers although there may be more thorough screenings of carry-on bags and additional testing of electronic devices for traces of explosives.

The airline industry, however, approached the news with caution.

“We believe that the development of the security directive should have been subject to a greater degree of collaboration and coordination to avoid the significant operational disruptions and unnecessarily frustrating consequences for the traveling public that appear likely to happen,” said Nicholas Calio, president of Airlines for America, the trade association representing most U.S. airlines.

Starting in March, passengers on flights to the United States from a half dozen Middle Eastern countries have been required to check their larger electronic devices before boarding, although mobile phones were permitted.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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