Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Sunday he’s considering a ban on passengers carrying laptop computers on all international flights in and out of the United States.
“I might,” Kelly said on “Fox News Sunday.” “There’s a real threat — numerous threats against aviation. That’s really the thing that they are obsessed with, the terrorists, the idea of knocking down an airplane in flight, particularly if it’s a U.S. carrier, particularly if it’s full of mostly U.S. folks.”
Since taking over the agency in January, Kelly has already limited laptops in airplane cabins.
He instituted a ban in March from 10 cities, mostly in the Middle East. Beyond laptops, the ban also covers tablets and other electronic devices and requires such equipment larger than a smartphone be checked in.
The ban applies to nonstop U.S.-bound flights from international airports in Amman, Jordan; Kuwait City, Kuwait; Cairo; Istanbul; Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Casablanca, Morocco; Doha, Qatar; and Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. About 50 flights a day, all on foreign airlines, are affected.
Earlier this month, there were reports that the Trump administration would broaden the ban to include planes from the European Union, affecting trans-Atlantic routes that carry as many as 65 million people a year.
U.S. officials have said that the initial ban was not based on any specific threat, but on longstanding concerns about extremists targeting jetliners.
Kelly on Sunday also signaled that aviation security — dramatically increased since the 9/11 terror attacks — will get even tighter. And he hinted about soon getting help in such efforts from “new technology … not too far down the road.”
However, the Trump administration’s spending plan for the budget year that begins Oct. 1 would make significant cuts to airport security programs.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.