US considers banning laptops on flights from UK airports

All travellers from Europe could front ban aimed at outwitting terrorists who want to smuggle explosive devices in consumer items

The Trump administration is considering barring fares flying to the US from UK airfields from carrying laptops, roots have told the Guardian.

The proposed banning would be similar to one already impose restrictions on travellers from various Middle Eastern countries.

British officials understand that their US equivalents are looking at extending the ban which avoids any inventions larger than a smartphone being taken as carry-on luggage to flights from Europe.

One Whitehall source suggested to the Guardian that although it was not certain that the prohibitions would be extended to the UK, the US was considering doing so.

The US government unexpectedly foisted the prohibitions in late March for flights from 10 airfields in the Middle East.

Passengers must pack their inventions in checked-in luggage on flights from the affected airfields in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

All are shut US allies and none are covered by the Trump administrations attempts to ban travellers from six other mainly Muslim nations.

Hours after sending a confidential edict from the US Transportation Safety Administration( TSA) to airlines, the Trump administration hurriedly agreed a press briefing indicated that the prohibitions had been foisted after knowledge become apparent that terrorists preferred smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items. The TSA directive is understood to be valid until 14 October.

It was not immediately clear why US dominions might want to extend the ban on taking electronic inventions such as tablets, e-readers and laptops to flights from European airports.

Gillian Christensen, a spokeswoman for the US Department of Homeland Security, remarked: Weve remarked we will continue to evaluate the threat context and move courages based on such a assessment, but we have not made any decisions on expanding the current restrictions against sizable electronic inventions in aircraft huts from adopted airports.

The UK has also boycotted electronic inventions on flights from six countries: Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Turkey, with UK airlines including British Airways and easyJet among those affected.

The transport secretary, Chris Grayling, denied that the UK ban on laptops implied that airfield security rights in the two countries affected meant their airfield certificate was lax.

While the US ban applies to anything larger than a smartphone, the UK regulations sacrifice specific magnitudes.

The outlaws provoked denunciation from technology professionals, who said the brand-new guidelines appeared to be at odds with basic computer science.

Nicholas Weaver, investigate at the International Computer Science Institute at the University of California, Berkeley, said at the month: It doesnt parallel a conventional threat model. If you premise the attacker is interested in turning a laptop into a missile, it would work as well in the cargo hold.

Restricting electronic inventions to checked luggage for flights from the Middle East has been a commercial-grade improve to US carriers at the expense of their Gulf rivals, which include Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways.

US airlines have long battled that the three fast-growing carriers benefit from unfair government subsidies with which American, Delta and United cannot compete and have lobbied the Trump administration to intervene. All three Gulf airlines regularly deny that they receive such benefits.

However, extending the restriction would potentially hit US airlines, having regard to the volume of transaction across the Atlantic to airports such as Heathrow. American airlines operate a relatively small number of flights to destinations in the Middle East.

Some Middle east airlines have resorted to giving tablets to business and first-class fares and allowing them to check inventions at the barrier, rather than the check-in counter.

Anushka Asthana, Sabrina Siddiqui and Gwyn Topham contributed to this report

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