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.

  1
  0
Tip of the Day
Daily Top List

Most Useful Twitter Accounts for Travel Agents

1. AskTSA

2. FlightRadar24

3. Department of State

4. CLIA Global

5. ASTA

Source: TMR

TMR THIS WEEK
http://services.travelsavers.com/AMGService.svc/REST/GetImage?ImageID=01926fc8-d3f7-e711-80eb-782bcb667b27

Look to Luxury Land Clients When Filling Luxury Cruise Ships

Capturing the ‘not-so-new’ luxury travelers and converting them to luxury cruise passengers can lead to big business for travel agents.

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Wyndham Worldwide to Buy Midscale Hotel Brand La Quinta
Wyndham Worldwide to Buy Midscale Hotel Brand La Quinta

The world’s largest hotel company adds to its midscale and upper-midscale portfolio.

Recovery Moves Forward As Caribbean Islands Look to Welcome Travelers
Recovery Moves Forward As Caribbean Islands Look to Welcome Travelers

Months after Hurricanes Irma and Maria slammed the region, islands such as Anguilla and Puerto Rico, and more are still recovering.

Walt Disney World Offers New FastPass Option to Select Resort Guests
Walt Disney World Offers New FastPass Option to Select Resort Guests

The new program will be in addition to the standard FastPass+ system.

The Travel Corporation Highlights New Travel Agent-Dedicated Site
The Travel Corporation Highlights New Travel Agent-Dedicated Site

The trade-facing website was created in response to feedback from agents.

U.S. State Department Issues Reduced Cuba Travel Warning
U.S. State Department Issues Reduced Cuba Travel Warning

The new warning is a change from the State Department’s Sept. 29, 2017 advisory against Cuba travel entirely.

Marriott Kicks Off Year of Big Growth in Asia
Marriott Kicks Off Year of Big Growth in Asia

The company is looking to capitalize on the growing demand from Chinese travelers.

News Briefs
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: Scenic Cruises