Europe is bracing for a laptop ban on flights to America

On Friday, a European official said that United States and European officials will discuss airline security at a high-level meeting in Brussels next week.

In late March, both the United States and the United Kingdom introduced strict limitations on the use and storage of various electronic devices for passengers travelling from a slew of Middle Eastern countries.

Fears that a bomb could be concealed in electronic devices prompted the United States to announce in March that it would restrict passengers from bringing laptops onto flights originating from 10 airports including in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey.

The Trump administration is likely to include some European countries in the in-cabin ban on gadgets larger than cellphones and is reviewing how to ensure lithium batteries stored in luggage do not explode in midair, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

US officials have said the decision in March to bar laptops and tablets from the cabins of some worldwide flights wasn't based on any specific threat but on longstanding concerns about extremists targeting jetliners.

The potential move would expand restrictions imposed in March by the US and Britain to ban electronic devices larger than a smartphone in passenger cabins of flights from eight Middle Eastern and African countries.

Expanding the ban to flights from Europe would affect U.S. airlines, who are now not impacted as they do not operate to the 10 airports.

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While several sources claim that the expansion of the large electronics ban is coming, there has been no official word on the change.

Europe has warned the USA that imposing a laptop ban on transatlantic flights could pose a risk to safety.

European aviation security experts are meeting in Brussels on Thursday to consider possible responses to any extension of the ban. Here in the US, deliberations are ongoing, but a decision could come any day. If it spreads to Europe, "it's simply a matter of time" before laptops are banned in the cabins of domestic US flights, he said.

Top European Union officials are demanding urgent meetings with the U.S.to discuss the looming ban.

European Commission spokeswoman Anna-Kaisa Itkonen said DHS Secretary John Kelly and "a number" of European ministers were scheduled to hold the talks late Friday.

US and European carriers are concerned about the logistics of checking large numbers of devices.

Two airline officials who were briefed on the discussions said Homeland Security gave no timetable for an announcement, but they were resigned to its inevitability.

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