Published: Thu, June 29, 2017
Economy | By Annette Adams

U.S. to announce enhanced security for incoming flights

U.S. to announce enhanced security for incoming flights

Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly teased the new procedures during a speech on Wednesday, stressing that the forthcoming measures would be "both seen and unseen, and they will be phased in over time". "We can not play worldwide whack-a-mole with each new threat". Later that month, in an appearance on "Fox News Sunday", Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly suggested he might go even further extending the ban to all global flights in and out of the U.S.

Officials refused to say what the screening would entail or whether it would delay passengers, insisting that that depends on how carriers and foreign airports choose to implement the screening, which appears aimed at trying to prevent terrorists from smuggling bombs hidden in laptops onboard a plane.

For airlines that fail to comply, "we would make changes up to and including the removal or disallowing of PEDs [Personal Electronic Devices] on the aircraft", the official stated. If they don't, their passengers may be barred from carrying laptops and other large electronics in passenger cabins. But those restrictions could be lifted if the affected airlines and airports adopt the new security protocols, officials said.

An aviation source explained to CNN that some of the measures could include an increased use of K9 dogs, interviews of passengers before boarding and explosive trace detection equipment.

"These measures will be seen and unseen to the traveling public", officials said.

"Intensive doesn't always mean slower", said one official.

Wednesday's announcement comes after months of debate over whether the US should expand the ban on laptops and other electronic devices that it put into place in March for travelers from 10 airports in mostly Middle Eastern countries.

Numerous specifics about the new measures likely won't be laid out for security reasons. They are likely to be imposed by this summer, the official said. Neither official provided a timeline for compliance.

DHS said that if carriers refuse to follow the new security measures they could face financial penalties, be included in a laptop ban or be banned from operating direct flights to the United States.

In recent weeks, Kelly and his aides have huddled with their counterparts overseas, as well as with representative of major airlines, to discuss whether to expand the ban around the globe. And they said airlines and airports may institute pre-check programs like those approved by the Transportation Security Administration for use in USA airports.

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