Confusion over laptop flight ban as US denies EU claim that proposals have been scrapped

31 May

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general, said extending the ban could cost passengers $1.1 billion. Major airlines fear that denying executives the opportunity to work while in the air would lead to a catastrophic fall in the lucrative business class traffic on which they depend.

According to one estimate, extending the ban to Europe, which would represent the biggest shake-up in aviation security since September 11, would hit 3,000 flights a week.

Some experts have also questioned the effectiveness of the proposals, warning that putting thousands of lithium ion batteries into the hold of an aircraft could pose an even greater threat.

“This is a triumph of politics over science,” said Bob Mann, a US-based aviation consultant.

“Putting thousands of these devices into hundreds of flights creates a far greater risk profile than a single terrorist trying to take a laptop onto a plane.” This is disputed by other experts who say there is little evidence of the danger. According to Federal Aviation Administration, there have only been 152 incidents over 25 years involving lithium ion batteries. 

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