Instead of an immediate expansion on banning laptops on foreign flights arriving in the United States, because they might carry bombs, U.S. Homeland Security is unveiling on Wednesday a plan to boost security measures, according to Reuters.
Airlines have expressed concern that a ban on laptops would hurt their bottom line, since the electronic devices are used heavily by business-class customers, who pay more than double for an airfare than economy-class passengers.
Airlines have 21 days to put in place increased security screening measures, and have 120 days to comply with other security measures, such as enhanced screening of airline passengers. These include explosive trace detection screening, and increased vetting of airports’ staff, as well as additional detection dogs, according to Reuters.
The security measures will be enforced in all 280 airports that have direct flights to the United States, rather than only the airports where the highest risk is a factor. In March the U.S. imposed restrictions on flights originating from 10 airports in eight countries, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Qatar and Turkey.
Homeland security officials said that those 10 airports can be taken off the restrictions list if they comply with the new security measures.
Robert Mann, an analyst at R.W. Mann & Company, said that new computer tomography or “CT” scanners that were being tested in Boston and Phoenix could help address some of the long-term screening issues.
Current screening of carry-on luggage “can’t tell the difference between a block of cheese, a romance novel and a block of semtex plastic explosives because they’re all about the same density,” said Mann.
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