May 18, 2017 / 1:13 PM / 8 months ago

German minister sees arguments in favour of banning laptops on planes

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - There are several arguments in favour of a ban on large electronic devices in aircraft cabins, Germany’s interior minister said on Thursday, adding he hoped to tackle risks to air travel jointly with the United States.

U.S. and EU officials will meet next week in Washington for more talks about responding to fears that bombs could be concealed in electronic devices and taken inside the cabin of an aircraft.

“There are several arguments in favour of that. It is a significant change but I have to say in case of doubt, security comes before convenience,” Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said, adding he shared concerns about additional security risks to the aviation industry.

“I hope we will have a common solution and not a unilateral one by the United States,” added de Maiziere as he arrived at a meeting of interior ministers in Brussels.

The United States announced in March that it would restrict passengers from bringing devices larger than mobile phones into the aircraft cabins of flights originating from 10 airports, including those in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, and might extend these measures to European airports.

Such devices, including laptops and tablets, would have to be checked in with hold luggage instead of being taken into the cabin.

According to airports association ACI Europe, there are 3,684 weekly flights being operated between European airports and the United States.

Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Catherine Evans

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