18 Dec / 2019

Asia-Pacific airlines lash out at ‘ill-judged’ laptop ban

first_imgUS authorities have been warned by Asia-Pacific airlines against taking “ill-judged reactionary measures’’ that could threaten the global economy by imposing costs for no tangible security benefit.A strongly-worded statement from the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines warns that any move by the US to expand the ban on laptops and large electronic items in the cabins of aircraft operating US-bound flights could also undermine public confidence in aviation security.AAPA joins the International Air Transport Association, the European Union and travel bodies in urging the US to look again at proposals to expand the ban to European destinations and possibly wider.AAPA director general Andrew Herdman said the association understood the need to maintain the highest level of security in air transport and were committed to working with government security agencies and others.“Despite recent events, public confidence in the safety and security of air travel remains high,’’ Herdman said. “It would be a tragedy if that confidence were to be undermined by ill-judged reactionary measures being misguidedly imposed by those entrusted with maintaining public safety.“The ripple effects of such measures, and their proposed wider expansion, threaten to disrupt the global economy and impose far greater costs on society with no tangible public security benefits.“This would only serve to further the aims of the terrorists, who measure their success by how much society over-reacts to their provocations.’’Herman said past experience with terrorist threats repeatedly highlighted the critical importance of effective intelligence gathering and analysis rather than a focus on generalised screening.He urged governments to work more closely with the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the industry.“Good security is all about comprehensive threat assessment and balanced risk management, not the elimination of every conceivable risk,’’ he said. “Aviation security is a collective global responsibility and requires effective consultation to ensure that security measures are practical, cost effective and sustainable whilst minimising the impact on the wider travelling public.’’AAPA also noted airlines had invested heavily in technology to allow passengers to use their personal electronic devices on aircraft and passengers were already subject to “onerous and inconsistent” screening measures prior to boarding a flight.It said safety issues relating to big numbers of lithium battery-powered devices stowed in an aircraft cargo bay, contrary to recognized best safety practices, also remain unresolved.While the US Department of Homeland Security has yet to make a decision on expanding the ban imposed in March on North African and Middle Eastern airports, it has confirmed it is considering the option.However, it has labelled as incorrect conflicting reports it is looking at extending the ban to all flights to the US and that it has shelved the expansion proposal.Representatives from the EU and the US are due to meet for further discussions on the issue.last_img

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