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ACI Europe issues warning ahead of EU and US electronics ban meeting

ACI Europe has released a statement warning of potential consequences if the US electronics ban is extended to Europe.

The European Commission is set to meet with the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) this week to discuss the matter, after EU commissioners Violeta Bulc and Dimitris Avramopoulos sent a letter to the country calling for a common approach and contact.

ACI Europe claims media coverage has revealed a “lack of meaningful security cooperation between the EU and the USA”.

The Council is issuing a warning about the highly disruptive and far-reaching consequences that a ban on the carriage of personal electronic devices (PED) aboard US bound flights from European airports would have. Currently, 59 airports in the European Common Aviation Area have direct services to the USA.

Olivier Jankovec, director general of ACI Europe, said, “All in all, if the ban was to go ahead, it would hit the continent’s busiest airports hardest, where a significant portion of US-bound flights would need to be canceled at short notice. For the flights that could still operate there would be delays, which would compromise onward connections in the USA.

“Beyond the immediate operational impact, we are concerned about the consequences that such a ban would have on demand for transatlantic air travel – and ultimately connectivity between Europe and the USA.

“The fact that one of the affected Gulf airlines has downsized its operations in the USA is indeed worrying – and points to a wider and lasting economic impact.”

ACI Europe is calling on the USA and EU to share between themselves all information in their possession, to jointly review the threat that led to the initial US ban, and carefully consider whether any additional security measures are needed for US-bound flights departing from European airports.

The Council believes, should any such measures be considered, these should be purely risk-based, which means that they need to be credible, proportionate and effective to address whatever threat they are supposed to address.

Given the volumes involved, extending the current US ban to European airports would result in significant disruptions, with implications on various aspects of airport and airline operations.

Among these would be random screening checks at the gate of each flight, as well as the implementation of related processes to load PEDs into the hold of aircraft. This would require the deployment of a very large number of additional security staff.

The five airports with the largest number of US weekly flights are London Heathrow with 761 flights, Paris-Charles de Gaulle at 353 flights, Frankfurt with 291 flights, Amsterdam-Schiphol at 242 flights, and Dublin with 179 flights. Together, these airports account for nearly 50% of the weekly flights to the USA.

Written by Kirstie Pickering

May 18, 2017


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