Trump 'laptop' ban may not be extended to flights from Europe

Lufthansa Airbus A380 Economy

Lufthansa Airbus A380 economy class. Lufthansa

The current ban applies to electronic devices larger than smartphones on nonstop flights to the US from airports in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, and to nonstops from Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia to the U.K. Administration officials have insisted that Trump did nothing wrong in the disclosure, but they also requested that The Washington Post not publish specific aspects of the intelligence.

Talks on a proposed USA ban on laptops and tablets in flights from Europe ended Wednesday with no ban - and a promise of more talks and better intelligence sharing. Last year, the UN's aviation agency banned passengers from storing spare lithium batteries in their checked luggage. After all, if US security agencies had credible intelligence indicating a terrorist threat, European Union countries couldn't very well neglect to take appropriate action.

Expanding the ban could cost $1.1 billion a year in lost productivity, travel time and "passenger well-being", Alexandre de Juniac, director general and CEO of the group, which represents 265 airlines, wrote in a letter to Bulc and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly. A spokesman for Airlines for Europe, the representative body for 22 major carriers, said: "We just know that there will further talks next week". But the airline industry has pushed back, warning that expanding the electronics ban to Europe would result in higher costs and new security threats.

The existing ban involves 50 flights per day from 10 airports, primarily in the Middle East.

The move, which requires passengers to put the devices into checked baggage, came amid concerns that jihadist groups were devising bombs disguised as batteries in consumer electronics items.

While the proposed ban is still in the proposal stage, it could go into effect at any time.

Following talks between European Union officials and the Trump administration, the prospect of barring the personal devices from commercial cabins is "off the table", for now.

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Any extension of the ban could affect US and European airlines such as United UAL.N , Delta DAL.N , American Airlines AAL.O , Lufthansa LHAG.DE , British Airways ICAG.L and Air France-KLM AIRF.PA .

Some aviation experts have even said that having so many electronics stored in the cargo hold could increase the risk of lithium batteries catching fire.

The European Commission (EC) and the United States have pushed back against moves for a wider ban on laptops on aircraft but talks on the subject will continue in Washington next week.

Emirates, the Middle East's largest airline, this week cited the ban on electronics as one of the reasons for an 80 percent drop in profits past year.

American and European officials met Wednesday to discuss a potential expansion of the ban, which reportedly could be broadened to include all flights from Europe.

The US has already introduced such a ban on flights from Cairo; Istanbul; Kuwait City; Doha, Qatar; Casablanca, Morocco; Amman, Jordan; Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; as well as Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

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