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It looks like the US electronics travel ban could well be expanded to other parts of the world very soon, and the ‘mood music’ strongly suggests that Europe (or at least some parts of Europe) will be included.
Earlier today, Department of Homeland Security Spokesman, David Lapan, reaffirmed that the Trump administration is actively discussing an expansion of the ban on laptops and other electronic devices to “more than a couple” of other regions – including flights from Western Europe.
Lapan went on to say, “The Secretary (Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly) has alluded to the fact that is likely to be expanded, but a decision hasn’t been made… There is a threat out there. We are engaged in a discussion about the threat”.
I’ve been reticent to cover this story until now because of the lack of concrete information rather than rumours. The fact that Lapan is now on the record changes that, and lends considerable weight to the info that has been bubbling around for the last few days.
Transatlantic business travel is extremely important, not just directly for the aviation industry, but for facilitating a large chunk of global finance (and other business) too.
Some of the Middle Eastern airlines already impacted by the current ban have responded swiftly and inventively, loaning laptops for inflight use etc, but that really isn’t a solution that works for many business people, particularly at more senior levels.
Make no mistake – if the ban does get expanded to include cities like London, Paris and Berlin, it is going to cause a lot of people a lot of headaches!
The electronics travel ban expansion hasn’t been confirmed yet, but this now has the ‘feel’ of a story that is strongly gaining momentum – if I was a betting man, I would now back an announcement within a week. Watch this space.