Trump's laptop ban on European flights is reportedly 'off the table'

IATA estimates that banning electronics on flights from Europe to the USA would cost travelers more than $1 billion.

While the Middle East moratorium affects 350 US-bound flights per week, extending it to the 28 European Union states plus Switzerland, Norway and Iceland would impact 390 a day, or more than 2,500 a week, Iata reckons.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that should the ban be extended to flights from Europe it could cost passengers over $1 billion a year and create safety risks.

"It is imperative that governments consult with industry to identify ways to maximize the security benefits of proposed measures while minimizing the negative impact on airline operations and their passengers", Alexandre de Juniac, director general and chief executive of IATA, said in the letter.

The new policy would affect 390 flights daily between the USA and Europe, far more than the 350 flights weekly from the Middle East and North Africa subject to the current rule, which the US announced in March.

However, De Junaic said it was hard to estimate the impact on carriers' bottom lines, but warned it could be significant given the reliance many have to the lucrative trans-Atlantic market.

Britain followed with a similar ban applying to incoming flights from six Middle East and North African countries. Numerous passengers are business travellers who rely on their computers to work during flights.

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A DHS spokesperson couldn't immediately be reached for comment for this story. They're weighing the advantages of the ban against the disruptions it would cause.

Afterwards an official said that a ban was "off the table", for now. It also said the ban had had a direct impact on demand for air travel into the USA, and it faced rising costs from introducing complimentary laptop loans to some passengers. Carriers themselves would incur costs from departure delays, additional handling of hold luggage and liability for damaged or stolen devices, while traveler numbers, fares and ultimately frequencies could all decline, it says.

There was also the question of how safe it would have been to keep a large number of electronics with lithium batteries, which have been known to catch fire, in the cargo area.

"For me, productivity is key", Aggarwal said. This would mean that all large electronics would not be allowed in the cabins and would have to be stored in the cargo hold. "Travelers will also be less inclined to purchase flights without entertainment systems if you're prohibited from bringing your own device".

In the past, IATA, which represents the interests of the world's airlines, has argued that the current ban - and by extension, any additional bans - is unnecessary, ineffective, and harmful to travelers, the travel industry, and the economy at large. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security put the rule in place in March for flights coming into the United States from 10 airports in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

Kelly said last month the ban was likely to expand, given the sophisticated threats in aviation and intelligence findings that would-be attackers were trying to hide explosives in electronic devices. For instance, airports could use screening devices that detect traces of explosives in laptops or train security staff to detect unusual behavior.

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