US Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has announced the toughening of security controls for passengers flying from abroad, but he ruled out expanding the prohibition on laptop computers aboard flights coming from Europe. “We will lay out a clear path to encourage airlines and airports to adopt more sophisticated screening approaches, including better use of explosive detection canines and advanced checkpoint screening technology…It is time to raise the global baseline of aviation security,” Kelly said at a conference in Washington on Wednesday.
He emphasised that “terrorists want to bring down an aircraft to instil fear, disrupt our economies and undermine our way of life. And it works – which is why they still see aviation as a crown jewel target”. Among the measures he announced were “enhanced screening of electronic devices, more thorough passenger vetting, and new measures designed to mitigate the potential threat of insider attacks”, reports Efe news. Despite prior reports about the possibility that the administration could expand the prohibition on bringing computers into the passenger cabin for flights coming from Europe, Kelly said that he had decided not to do that.
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In March, the US government prohibited large electronic devices in hand-carried luggage on direct flights coming from 10 international airports in eight Muslim-majority nations: Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The Homeland Security did not provide details on many of the new measures for security reasons, but it said that if it did not receive cooperation from foreign firms and authorities it could broaden the prohibition to other countries and airports. The strengthened security measures will affect some 2,000 flights and 300,000 passengers per day.