European Union demands talks with United States over possible airline laptop ban

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The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is mulling the expansion of a ban on laptops on flights originating from several predominantly Muslim countries to flights from Europe. A new ban would affect all USA airlines, including American Airlines, which has a hub and a trans-Atlantic gateway at Philadelphia International Airport.

Europe's The Daily Beast reported all flights from Europe to the United States would be affected, citing European security officials.

DHS said in a statement to The Daily Beast: "No final decisions have been made on expanding the restriction on large electronic devices in aircraft cabins; however, it is under consideration". Two EU officials said the discussions had so far concentrated on maintaining a common front.

Critics of the laptop and electronic device ban say placing hundreds of lithium batteries in luggage holds could present fire risks.

Top European Union officials are demanding urgent meetings with the discuss the looming ban.

The move would extend a March ban put into place by the U.S. on direct flights into the countries from airports in 10 Middle Eastern nations.

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Some European terminals may soon be added to the list of 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa from which the United States has prohibited passengers to board with laptops and tablets, according to "three sources briefed on the meeting", Reuters reported.

What we're talking about is the ban on electronic devices being used in commercial airline cabins.

IATA and other industry players have criticised the ban, questioning its effectiveness and calling the rule unacceptable.

An electronics ban went into effect on March 21 for passengers on direct flights to the United States from 10 Middle East airports in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Morocco.

The proposed expanded ban is based on growing concern about an explosive getting past airport scanners.

European airlines Lufthansa and Air France-KLM told Bloomberg News that they are already preparing for the new restrictions-and a wider ban may be painful for both European and United States carriers, which are competing for trans-Atlantic business.