Electronics ban on flights to Europe could cost passengers $1.1 billion a year
As U.S. and European officials discuss aviation security in Brussels Wednesday, the airline industry is voicing major concerns.
The electronics ban being considered by the U.S. on flights to and from Europe could cost $1.1 billion — and that's just for passengers.
That's according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), whose CEO on Tuesday wrote to both the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the European Commission about the possible consequences of a widely discussed ban on electronics larger than cellphones in aircraft cabins.
IATA calculated the costs of lost productivity for business passengers, the additional travel time for all passengers caused by more complicated security procedures, and the “harm to passenger well being,” Flight Chic reported.
About 70-80% of travelers bring personal electronic devices with them, according to IATA, and about 40% have a strong need to use them on flights.
“I am writing on behalf of IATA and its 265 member airlines to express our serious concern regarding the negative impact any extension of the ban on personal electronic devices in the aircraft cabin will have on airline passengers, commercial aviation and the global economy” wrote IATA director and CEO Alexandre de Juniac. The current ban, on flights to and from the Middle East and North Africa, he states, affects 350 flights per week — but a ban on European flights would affect 390 per day. That's more than 2,500 per week.
In addition to the immediate impact, IATA warns that companies would cancel trips rather than risk checking devices holding sensitive information, and that this would have “implications for future investment and business transactions.”
For passengers, the logistics of a widespread electronics ban could be complicated: Emirates, which has adapted to comply with the ban on flights to and from the Middle East, has passengers gate-check their electronics. Read about the details from a T+L editor who was on a recent flight. However, it is not yet clear whether this same system would work for a much larger number of flights to many more destinations across Europe.
“All in all, if the ban was to go ahead, it would hit the continent’s busiest airports hardest, where aa significant portion of US-bound flights would need to be cancelled at short notice,” said Olivier Jankovec, director general of ACI EUROPE, in a statement.
Both IATA and ACI Europe are urging information sharing between Europe and the U.S., as well as more controlled, short-term measures, instead of an extended and far-reaching ban.