On June 7, 2017 The U.S. Department of Homeland Security chief told a House panel that the federal government is considering an expansion of its ban on large electronics, like laptops, in carry-on bags from the 10 current airports to up to 71 airports for U.S.-bound flights.
Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly told the House panel that the agency was considering all options available in regard to improving aviation security, including the proposed expansion of large personal electronics restrictions. The agency is working with airlines and foreign partners to raise minimum aviation security standards, with a strong focus on U.S.-bound flights. In response to a question from Rep. Bonnie Watson-Coleman (D-N.J.) on the status of the laptop ban and the plans for expanding that ban, Kelly explained that “we are looking right now at an additional 71 airports, last points of departure. That said … we’re also looking at ways that we think we can mitigate the threat — not eliminate it — so in an attempt to not to be put on the ban list, if you will, many countries are leaning forward.” Kelly also reiterated to the House panel that the electronics ban was initially put in place in response to “very real and sophisticated threats” to attack U.S-bound planes in flight, an attempt to combat those terrorist groups attempting to target commercial aviation for carrying out attacks using means that include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer products.
The electronics ban already in place applies to passengers flying to the U.S. from 10 airports from majority-Muslim countries: Queen Alia International Airport, Cairo International Airport, Ataturk International Airport, King Abdul-Aziz International Airport, King Khalid International Airport, Kuwait International Airport, Mohammed V International Airport, Hamad International Airport, Dubai International Airport and Abu Dhabi International Airport.
On Thursday, June 8, Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan declined to disclose which additional 71 airports are under consideration for the possible expanded ban, only noting the airports are both in Europe and other regions, including the Middle East and Africa.