U.S. airplane laptop ban could be extended to Europe

The US wants to ban electronics on Board the aircraft

A hush-hush meeting between officials of the US Department of Homeland Security, three major US airlines and a trade group is the surest sign yet that a carry-on ban on some electronic devices for European flights to US is imminent, according to a report.

Britain followed with a similar ban applying to incoming flights from six Middle East and North African countries.

The restriction was introduced in March over fears that bombs or explosive materials could be concealed on electronic devices brought onboard.

The US Department of Homeland Security sparked deep concern in Europe on Tuesday when it said was close to a decision on extending to European airlines an existing ban on eight mostly Muslim countries.

"We'll likely expand the restrictions", he said.

"The Commission is keen to work closely with all global partners - including the USA authorities - on identifying developing threats in aviation and the best ways to address them together", Itkonen said.

Any expansion of the ban could impact US carriers such as United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines Group.

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Department of Homeland Security officials spoke with airline industry representatives about the electronics ban on Thursday, according to Homeland Security and industry sources.

The European Union has demanded urgent talks with the United States over a possible extension to some European countries of a US ban on airline passengers taking laptops into cabins, saying any security threats faced are common.

One issue that has become a focus for security officials is how to make sure that lithium batteries used in laptops aren't turned into bombs that can be detonated mid-air even if stored in luggage holds.

European Commission spokeswoman Anna-Kaisa Itkonen said DHS Secretary John Kelly and "a number" of European ministers were scheduled to hold the talks late Friday.

More than 350 flights a day travel from Europe to the U.S. But, it's not just the airlines that would be hit.

The U.S. laptop ban has affected direct flights to the United States by Royal Jordanian Airlines, Egypt Air, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways. Now the ban is possible being extended to Europe, although there has been no official word on the matter.

CNN cited unnamed intelligence officials saying that terrorists would have a more hard time detonating an explosive remotely and that placing the laptops and other devices in the cargo bay might reduce damage even if a bomb were to explode.

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