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U.S. and EU swap air security information on laptop ban talks

Staff Writer |
European Union and U.S. officials have swapped information about threats involving air travel amid concern that the United States will soon broaden its ban on in-flight laptops and tablets to include planes from Europe.

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The White House has defended the decision by US President Donald Trump to discuss with Russian officials an Islamic State terror threat related to the use of laptops on aircraft.

EU officials have been waiting for details about the threat.

In a joint statement, the EU's transport and migration commissioners plus senior Department of Homeland Security officials said they had "exchanged information on the serious evolving threats to aviation security and approaches to confronting such threats".

They also shared details about their aviation security standards and detection capabilities, and agreed to meet again in Washington next week "to further assess shared risks and solutions for protecting airline passengers, whilst ensuring the smooth functioning of global air travel".

Banning large electronics would create logistical chaos on the world's busiest corridor of air travel - as many as 65 million people a year travel between Europe and North America on nearly 400 daily flights, many of them business travellers who rely on the devices to work during the flight.

The ban would dwarf in size the current one, which was put in place in March and affects about 50 flights per day from 10 cities, mostly in the Middle East.

The International Air Transport Association, which represents 265 airlines, on Tuesday wrote to both the EU and the US department to oppose the proposed ban, which it said would deeply affect the economy and cause the equivalent of 1.1 billion dollars (£848 million) in lost time to passengers.

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