All personal electronic device (PED) restrictions for flights to the US have been lifted by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which said airlines and airports around the world are complying with new security requirements for all US-bound flights.
US homeland security secretary John Kelly outlined new security standards June 28 for all US-bound flights, affecting 180 airlines and 280 airports globally. At the time, passengers flying to the US from 10 Middle East and North Africa airports were prohibited from carrying large PEDs on board aircraft and instead were required to place the devices in checked baggage.
DHS said those 10 airports have all implemented “enhanced security measures” and all have now been removed from the so-called laptop ban list. Airports on the list started being removed on a one-by-one basis as early as July 1, when Abu Dhabi International Airport was taken off the list.
“The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has lifted the restrictions on large personal electronic devices for the 10 airports/nine airlines in the Middle East and North Africa, which were announced in March,” DHS said in a statement. “These airports and airlines have successfully implemented the first phase of enhanced security measures. There are currently no airlines under restrictions for large personal electronic devices. Airlines worldwide have implemented additional security measures that ultimately make the global aviation community more secure.”
The full lifting of the laptop ban by the US government occurred amid growing concern about the safety implications of PEDs in checked baggage, including testing by FAA’s Fire Safety Branch showing that PEDs packed in suitcases in the cargo hold could have serious consequences to aircraft if thermal runaway took place.
DHS said all 180 airlines and 280 airports covered by the new security requirements “have implemented the first phase of enhanced security measures,” adding, “The quick and decisive action taken by airlines, nations and stakeholders is a testament to our shared commitment to raising the bar on global aviation security. Airlines were able to implement the necessary enhanced security measures because of the close coordination and extensive communication between aviation partners and the DHS/TSA.”
DHS has not publicly detailed the specifics of the new security requirements. More generally, DHS has said the security measures include, but are not limited to: “enhancing overall passenger screening; conducting heightened screening of personal electronic devices; increasing security protocols around aircraft and in passenger areas; and deploying advanced technology, expanding canine screening and establishing additional [US Customs and Border Protection] pre-clearance locations.”
DHS has cautioned that passengers flying to the US “may experience additional screening of their person and property” and should be prepared “for a more extensive screening process.”
TSA officials have been confirming implementation of the new security standards during site visits to affected airports to “ensure the measures have been implemented correctly and to the full extent required,” DHS said, adding that TSA officials will follow up by making “regularly scheduled visits to observe (ongoing) operations” at the affected airports.
“These enhanced security measures are just the beginning,” DHS stated. “As threats continue to evolve, we and our partners around the world will continue to respond by working together to improve intelligence sharing and standardize best practices, while also seeking out technological advancements that will make flying more secure for everyone.”
Source: ATW Online (http://atwonline.com/security/us-removes-all-ped-restrictions-all-us-bound-flights)