Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Sunday he’s considering a ban on laptops in the passenger cabins of all international flights to and from the US.
This would be a huge expansion of DHS restrictions that took effect in March, barring electronics larger than a phone inside the cabin on flights to the US and the UK from airports in several countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
Kelly was asked on “Fox News Sunday” if he was going to ban laptops from all international flights into and out of the US.
“I might,” he answered. Kelly added that there’s a real threat to aviation, saying terrorists are “obsessed” with the idea of “knocking down an airplane in flight, particularly if it’s a US carrier, particularly if it’s full of mostly US folks, people. It’s real.”
Kelly also said the US is going to “raise the bar” for aviation security much higher than it is now.
The DHS didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
In March, the DHS temporarily banned passengers from carrying on laptops, tablets and other devices larger than mobile phones on flights from 10 Middle Easter and African countries. Instead, those items had to be placed in checked baggage. Then earlier this month, DHS said it may ban laptops on all flights from Europe, as well. It enacted the ban after intelligence revealed terrorists were developing an explosive that could be hidden in portable electronic devices.
Hundreds of millions of passengers fly between the US and other countries of the world every year. In June 2016 — the most recent data from the US Department on Transportation — nearly 20,000,000 passengers flew between the US and a foreign country, and 50 percent of those passengers flew on a US airline.