[JURIST] John Kelly, Secretary of Homeland Security [official profile],stated in an interview Sunday that the United States is considering banning laptops in aircraft cabins on all international flights. During the interview with Fox New Sunday, Kelly said [Reuters report] the ban is part of a larger scheme to “raise the bar” on airline security. Other measures may include tighter screening of carry-on items, especially those in overstuffed bags. According to Kelly, “the terrorists [are obsessed with] the idea of knocking down an airplane in flight, particularly if it’s a U.S. carrier, particularly if it’s full of U.S. people.” No decision has yet been made as to the timing of the ban.
Airline safety has become a heavily discussed issue around the world in the wake of a series of disasters that have occurred in the past three-to-four years. The crashes have been attributed primarily to lax safety standards and poor implementation of the same. The Malaysian Airlines MH-370 disappearance on March 8, 2014 was the first major event. Very little, if any of the wreckage has been found to date, leaving questions as to what caused the disaster. In June 2015 the ICAO downgraded [JURIST report] the security rating of Thailand’s aviation sector from Category 1 to Category 2 after finding that Thailand aviation’s safety measures fell below [official report] UN agency standards. In August 2014 an Indian passenger plane, Jet Airways, that was carrying 280 people from Mumbai (Bombay) to Brussels suddenly dropped 5,000 feet [The Observer report], after the co-pilot got distracted on her iPad. In July 2014 Malaysian Airlines MH-17 was brought down [BBC backgrounder] in rebel-held Eastern Ukraine by a surface-to-air ground missile. Airlines have since been warned not to fly over the region.