The United States will not extend its laptop ban to flights to the U.S. from Europe this week, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) John Kelly told European officials on Tuesday.
A department spokesperson said the announcement is “part of our ongoing engagement with various stakeholders on this issue,” and that things could change based on future intelligence.
According to POLITICO, the ban to Europe is now off the table; a commission spokesperson said there will be “no ban” as “both sides have agreed to intensify technical talks and try to find a common solution.”
The report is good news for business travelers who don’t want to lose valuable work time inflight. According to the International Air Transport Association, if extended to Europe the ban would cost travelers more than $1 billion, affecting more than 400 daily routes and 65 million passengers each year.
But the ruling could still change as since the ban’s original inception in March, conflicting reports have continued to come from DHS. Last week, DHS said it was not considering expanding its ban on electronics to flights departing the United States.
But then, during a Sunday interview with Fox News, Kelly told hosts that he “might” ban laptops from cabins on all inbound and outbound international flights.
"There’s a real threat,” he said.
The saga started when the United States banned all electronics bigger than a smartphone on flights from eight countries in the Middle East in March. That affected about 50 flights a day from the United States on nine carriers: Egyptair, Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Turkish Airlines.
The United Kingdom matched the ban shortly after it was announced, banning devices larger than 6.3 by 3.7 inches from all cabins on U.K.-bound flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.