Acting on fears that terrorists can build bombs into laptops, Homeland Security has decided to expand the ban it imposed on Middle Eastern flights. Computers will now be checked as baggage.
The Department of Homeland Security plans to ban laptops in the cabins of all flights from Europe to the United States, European security officials told The Daily Beast. The announcement is expected Thursday.
Initially a ban on laptops and tablets was applied only to U.S.-bound flights from 10 airports in North Africa and the Middle East. The ban was based on U.S. fears that terrorists have found a way to convert laptops into bombs capable of bringing down an airplane. It is unclear if the European ban will also apply to tablets.
DHS said in a statement…
…Tests carried in 2015 by the FAA’s Fire Safety Branch have shown that halon gas is ineffective against fires originating in the kind of lithium-ion batteries used in laptops and tablets.
Even more to the point, these tests have revealed that the quantity of halon gas used in the automatic fire suppression systems of airplane cargo holds had no effect on a fire that begins as what is called a thermal runaway in a lithium-ion battery. Panels in the cargo hold designed to contain a fire were actually blown out in the tests, creating an explosion that would destroy an airplane…
- FAA video Lithium Ion batteries on fire under FRC