Aviation security risks must be weighed against safety risks in reviewing proposals to bar laptops and other relatively large personal electronic devices (PEDs) from airplane cabins, Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, president of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council, says.
ICAO has established the Multidisciplinary Cargo Safety Group to consider “combined safety, security and facilitation aspects of this issue,” Aliu said Monday in a speech to the International Air Transport Association’s annual general meeting, being held in Cancun, Mexico.
He added that ICAO’s Aviation Security Panel also has recommended creation of a new task force to review security risks from explosive devices hidden in PEDs.
The ICAO Council will consider the issue during its 212th session, which convenes later this year.
“Our guiding priority … will be to ensure that all related security and safety risks are fully considered and prudently balanced,” Aliu said.
Officials in the United States have banned PEDs that are larger than cell phones or smart phones from the cabins of airliners bound for the United States from 10 Middle Eastern and North African airports, requiring that the devices instead be placed in checked luggage. The U.K. government imposed similar restrictions on flights from six countries. U.S. officials have suggested expanding the ban to include flights bound to U.S. airports from Europe.
Other officials, including those from the European Aviation Safety Agency, have questioned those actions, arguing that, a ban on PEDs in aircraft cabins will result in an increase in the number of the devices carried in checked baggage — and a corresponding increase in the risk of fire because of the large number of lithium battery–powered PEDs in cargo compartments.