Department of Homeland Security officials told The Daily Beast that the organization could extend the ban on laptops, tablets and other large electronic devices to all flights from Europe to the U.S. The ban currently applies to 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa. Reports had indicated an announcement was expected Thursday, May 11th, but there has been no official word yet.
Airlines told CBS News that they have begun making preparations for an extended ban, with Lufthansa saying in a statement that it “has internally evaluated different scenarios for possible enhancements to the ban.”
A spokesperson for the Heathrow airport told The Independent, “We are aware of media reports speculating on changes which may impact some passengers, but at this time, no changes have been announced by the authorities and there is no impact at Heathrow.”
US-bound passengers traveling from 10 airports in eight countries are currently not able to take large electronic devices on board and they have to be placed in checked-in baggage in the cargo hold.
Affect flights originate in Amman, Jordan; Kuwait City, Kuwait; Cairo, Egypt; Istanbul, Turkey; Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Casablanca, Morocco; Doha, Qatar; and Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
The nine impacted airlines are Royal Jordanian, EgyptAir, Turkish Airlines, Saudia, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways.
These airlines operate approximately 50 direct flights to the US every day.
There is also a UK ban in place which targets flights out of Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Lebanon.
The bans were introduced earlier this year amid fears terrorists are perfecting explosive devices small enough to fit inside consumer electronics in an attempt to bring down commercial airliners.