Passengers traveling from 10 airports in eight Middle Eastern and African countries will be barred from bringing laptops and other large electronics into the cabin as carry-ons starting as early as Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security announced today. DHS is taking this step in response to “[e]valuated intelligence [that] indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items.” The following statement can be attributed to Global Business Travel Association Executive Director and COO Michael W. McCormick:
“GBTA strongly believes the security of our skies is of the utmost importance. We support TSA’s efforts in securing our airways and believe they should take all necessary steps to do so.
We are awaiting more information as to whether this addresses a specific security threat and also reaching out to our members to assess the impact on business travel.
Nearly half (49 percent) of business travelers prefer to stay connected and get work done while flying. Not allowing them to bring their devices on the plane cuts productivity, taking away time that they can be getting business done. Many business travelers also prefer to keep their devices close for security purposes because they may contain sensitive company information.
If it is in the best interest of security, business travelers are willing to comply with these types of measures. We encourage DHS to continue to adopt trusted traveler programs and expand PreClearance to ensure that resources can be effectively allocated to detecting threats to homeland security. We look forward to continuing to work with TSA to find ways to continue to encourage business travel as global business travel spend topped $1.3 trillion in 2016 and is projected to reach $1.6 trillion by 2020.”