(Bloomberg). airlines operating transatlantic flights could soon find themselves in a device-free zone if US charges advance a security ban for laptops and other large electronic devices on airline flights from Europe.
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Airlines brace for operational chaos at European airports after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said last week that It could extend to Europe the ban imposed in March on flights to the United States from 10 airports in the Middle East. The new security protocol could mean longer lines at security checkpoints, more delays, gate confusion and even more inconvenience for travelers.
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” I think it is going to be extremely chaotic, “said Rich Roth, CEO from CTI Consulting, a security company that specializes in aviation. The official predicts that European airlines, airports and officials will pressure DHS to review its analysis of the transatlantic threat, in the hope that a more lenient strategy will be applied than currently envisioned. “I think they overstated their risk assessment a bit,” Roth said.
Companies and their travel managers have been up in arms over the proposed electronics ban, said Greg Raiff, CEO of New Hampshire charter operator Private Jet Services.
“Imagine a technology company that transfers employees from Europe to the United States and tells the developers of those companies that they cannot use laptops on airplanes”, Raiff said. “I think we are in for an uproar of proportions from the business community over this.”
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While companies will not abandon transatlantic travel, an electronics ban could discourage business travel when it combines with other recent regulations that have made travel more burdensome, said Michael McCormick, executive director of the Global Business Travel Association. When faced with having to part with their computers – possibly putting sensitive business information at risk – some companies may tell employees to leave their computers at home.
” business travelers would be much more willing to accept a much tighter control at the airport, rather than having to part with their tools when traveling, “said McCormick.
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The threat of loss of laptops – either for theft, damage or loss as checked baggage – it will probably lead some companies to evaluate whether some meetings can be conducted via Skype or other virtual methods, said Andrew Coggins, a professor of administration at the School of and Lubin Business Administration from Pace University. “People don’t want to part with their laptops,” he said.
That may be bad news for airlines that rely heavily on business travel for the cost effectiveness.