News Reports Point To Reasons For Electronics Bans

by Richard D’Ambrosio
News Reports Point To Reasons For Electronics Bans

Photo: Department of Homeland Security

In the last week, various news reports have pointed to specific tactics terrorists have been using to store small but powerful bombs in electronic devices, lending more credence to the likelihood that a ban on such devices might become a reality for travelers.

According to one CBS News report, U.S. officials inspecting newly recaptured facilities in Mosul, Iraq, say they have uncovered evidence that ISIS is developing “a new type of bomb that could pass through an airport scanner undetected.”

CBS News accompanied Iraqi Special Forces in a visit to Mosul University, which experts believe had become a bomb-making testing center, using the school's equipment and labs. They believe they now have evidence of work to develop a “new generation of more powerful explosives that could be concealed in a computer.”

Meanwhile, USA Today, reporting from Brussels where U.S. Homeland Security officials were meeting with their European Union counterparts to discuss the threat of laptops and tablets in airplane cabins, reminded its readers that a bomb in a soda can is suspected of destroying a Russian jet over Egypt in October 2015, and a laptop was suspected of taking down a Daallo Airlines flight in Somalia in February 2016.

The executive director of the UN Security Council Counterterrorism Committee Jean-Paul Laborde, told a news conference in Brussels that the threat of terrorist attacks with computers or tablets in flight is real. "The question is not whether it's going to happen, it's when," Laborde told reporters.

Theories about terrorist bomb-making capabilities are only speculation at this point, but in March, the U.S. began banning in-flight laptops and other large electronics for U.S.-bound flights from 10 airports in eight countries in the Middle East and Africa.

The International Air Transport Association estimates an expansion of the ban to inbound U.S. flights from Europe would cost more than $1 billion annually in lost time to passengers. It is estimated that nearly a third of the 100,000 passengers flying daily between Europe and the U.S. are business travelers with laptops.

The reason why the ban is for in-cabin electronics only so far is that cargo luggage generally comes under more stringent screening than carry-ons, and a bomb stowed in an aircraft’s cargo hold would need to be more powerful than a bomb in the cabin.

However, storing more electronics devices in a cargo hold can present other problems. Lithium batteries have been known to spontaneously ignite under certain conditions on aircraft in flight.

At a security summit held earlier this year, Frances Townsend, former assistant to the president for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, suggested that security officials, the travel industry and electronics manufacturers think differently, and move the “protective barrier” further away from airports and aircraft.

She recommended that manufacturers of electronic devices sit down with agencies like the DHS to find ways to engineer electronics to reduce the risk of their being used for terror.


The World’s Best Events to Build Trips Around

All travel advisors can benefit from adding events to their trip-planning services, further expanding their ability to help their clients have unforgettable travel experiences - the kind that they’ll tell their grandkids about some day.

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Collette Introduces 22 New Tours for 2020

The company is focusing on expansion of its small group Explorations series to places like Spain, Portugal, the Baltics, and Patagonia.

Avanti Destinations Expands into New Regions

The provider of custom-designed independent packages is growing its destinations and itineraries in 2019 and 2020.

Tour Operator Friendly Planet Travel Acquires InsightCuba

The transaction unites two tour companies that are licensed to offer programs to Cuba, placing them in a stronger position to promote travel to Cuba.

Hotel Executives on Headwinds Caused by Media Coverage of Dominican Republic

Industry leaders talk about what the travel industry needs to do to change the negative narrative that has been created around the Caribbean country.

New Apple CEO and D.R.’s Minister of Tourism Address Advisors at ALG’s First Ascend Summit

Dominican Republic official assures advisors that the country is as safe as ever and asks for their support in educating the public.

Former Silversea CEO Amerigo Perasso to Lead Abercrombie & Kent

He replaces founder Geoffrey Kent, who will now serve as co-chairman.

News Briefs
Tip of the Day

"Our existing clients are evolving into something new versus what clients used to be, and we’re trying to grow with them."

Tracee Williams, Destinations Travel Agency

Daily Top List

Six Ways to Better Promote Your Agency

  1. Have a plan
  2. Track leads
  3. Attract followers
  4. Use a professional account
  5. Don’t be afraid to utilize video
  6. Be consistent

Source: TMR


TMR Outlooks
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: USTOA's Recalculating with Harrison Greenbaum – Episode 2 (Dining in Mexico City)