US Announces Increased Aviation Security

June 28, 2017

The United States Department of Homeland Security has announced plans to increase security on inbound international flights, including enhanced screening of electronic devices and more thorough passenger vetting.

DHS Secretary John Kelly said “We cannot play international whack-a-mole with each new threat. Instead, we must put in place new measures across the board to keep the travelling public safe and make it harder for terrorists to succeed.”

The new requirements will apply to all commercial flights into the US, with 325,000 passengers per day travelling on 180 airlines affected. About 2,100 flights daily from approximately 280 airports in 105 countries will have to meet the new rules.

The changes, which Kelly said will “raise the global baseline of aviation security,” include enhanced passenger screening, heightened screening of personal electronic devices, and increased security around passenger areas and aircraft.

DHS will also increase the number of locations worldwide for US pre-clearance. Airlines and other stakeholders will be consulted on the implementation of the new rules, the department said.

DHS said “stakeholders who fail to adopt these requirements within certain timeframes run the risk of additional security restrictions being imposed.”

The US introduced a ban in March on electronic devices larger than a mobile phone being carried in aircraft cabins on US-bound flights from airports in 10 Middle East and North African countries.

Kelly said he based that decision on “evaluated intelligence and real concerns we had about terrorist plotting.” He said the country’s enemies “are constantly working to find new methods for disguising explosives, recruiting insiders, and hijacking aircraft.”

DHS said the ban affecting direct flights from those countries would be lifted if the ten airports comply with the enhanced security measures outlined in the TSA directive.