US announcing enhanced security measures aimed at avoiding laptop ban

US Homeland Security officials on Wednesday will unveil enhanced security measures for foreign flights arriving in the United States, in a bid to avoid an expansion of an in-cabin ban on laptops and other large electronic devices because they might carry bombs, sources briefed on the matter said Wednesday.

The decision not to impose new restrictions on laptops is a boost to US airlines, which have worried that an expansion of the ban to Europe or other locations could cause significant logistical problems and deter some travel. Airlines that failed to satisfy new security requirements could still face future in-cabin electronics restrictions, sources said.

The US imposed restrictions on laptops in March on flights originating at 10 airports in eight countries that include Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Turkey. They came amid fears that a concealed bomb could be installed in electronic devices taken aboard aircraft.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said last week that US authorities want to take the 10 airports off the restrictions list "by simply doing the kind of things that we're talking about here in terms of raising aviation security."

Homeland security officials plan to announce that those airports can get off the list if they meet the new security requirements.

Kelly said he planned a "step by step" security enhancement plan that included short, medium-term and longer term improvements that would take at least a year to completely implement.
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