The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents 265 airlines, wrote to both the US State Department and the European Union on Tuesday to strongly oppose the proposed ban.

The US ban on laptops and tablets affects flights from Amman, Kuwait City, Cairo, Istanbul, Jeddah, Riyadh, Casablanca, Doha, and Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The proposed ban is similar to one that began in March that prohibited laptops and other large electronics from passenger cabins between certain airports in the Middle East and North Africa.

Any extension of the ban could affect US and European airlines such as United UAL.N , Delta DAL.N , American Airlines AAL.O , Lufthansa LHAG.DE , British Airways ICAG.L and Air France-KLM AIRF.PA .

Alarmed at the proposal, which airline officials say is merely a matter of timing, European governments held talks with their US counterparts on Friday. A long flight is a great time to sleep to be sure, but so many use it for important matters that they account for as part of their respective business. The Department of Homeland Security issued a statement Wednesday saying only that further discussions with European Union officials will continue next week in Washington, D.C.

Earlier this week it warned of huge disruption at European and U.S. airports if any such ban was approved and significant delays, since more security staff would need to be recruited over a period of weeks, so effectively causing mayhem.

"Lithium battery fires, unless caught early, can spread quickly and therefore official ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) advice is that devices should be kept in the cabin so that any potential fires can be spotted and extinguished before they enter a state known as "thermal runaway" - at which point they are nearly impossible to extinguish".

"[The ban] would hit the Continent's busiest airports hardest, where a significant portion of US -bound flights would need to be canceled at short notice", said Olivier Jankovec, director general of ACI Europe. But U.S. aviation-security officials appear determined to ban large electronic devices in the cabin of flights from Europe. Concerns have also been raised over the potential fire risk from storing large stocks of electronics in checked luggage. More than 350 flights depart Europe for the USA each day, according to IATA. Out of 31 million passengers departing European airports for the U.S.in 2016, 3.5 million connected from flights coming from outside Europe. The intelligence came from a US partner and was considered so sensitive that it was distributed among only a small circle within the USA government and withheld from broader sharing among English-speaking allies that US intelligence agencies do as a matter of course.

In a letter to U.S. Homeland Security chief John Kelly and EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc, IATA head Alexandre de Juniac called on governments to consider alternatives to a ban, such as methods to detect traces of explosives at airport security checkpoints, better training of staff and use of behavioral detection officers.

The original ban on mostly Middle Eastern flights, which the United Kingdom has also partially adopted, focused on countries where the equipment to screen carry-on bags is thought to be less effective as those in the U.S., analysts have said.

The U.S. welcomes more than 14.5 million travelers from Europe each year - that's 40% of all overseas visitors to America, according to research firm Euromonitor.


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