US to ban laptops on Europe flights
Both airports and airlines in Europe have been planning to extend the ban since the US announced the first restrictions on larger electronic devices in the cabin Reuters/Lucas Jackson

The US is likely to expand its laptop ban to flights from some European countries. The ban could impact US flights such as United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines Group. The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is expected to make an announcement about it, although there is no word on when it would take place.

People familiar with the matter told Reuters that DHS officials were planning to meet airline industry representatives on Thursday (11 May) to discuss security issues. Also, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly would have discussions about domestic threats and airline issues with senators.

DHS spokesman Dave Lapan said Kelly "hasn't made a decision but we continue to evaluate the threat environment and have engaged in discussions with airline representatives and other stakeholders about the threat".

Peter Goelz, a former managing director at the National Transportation Safety Board in the US, told Reuters that the expansion of the in-cabin ban on larger electronics "is going to represent a major logistical problem for airlines".

He said more money would have to be spent on improving screening. "It is very difficult to determine whether a dense object is actually a battery or a plastic explosive," Goelz said.

Both airports and airlines in Europe have been planning to extend the ban since the US announced the first restrictions on larger electronic devices in the cabin.

A few issues that need to the addressed include how best to inform passengers about the new restrictions. Measures to stop online check-in for US-bound flights or to ensure that flights depart from a dedicated part of terminals are also being considered.

In March, the US announced laptop restrictions on flights originating from airports including in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey over fears that concealed bombs could be installed in electronic devices that are taken into aircraft.