Dublin could be one of the worst hit airports by US laptop ban

Aviation group ACI Europe says the ban would be "highly disruptive"

Dublin could be one of the worst hit airports by US laptop ban

Journalists surf broadband internet while flyIng at 5,000 ft over London on one of Connexion by Boeing's 737 jets | Image: Chris Ison/PA Archive/PA Images

Aviation experts are warning any ban on electronic devices, such as laptops, on European flights to the US would cause severe disruption.

Groups are meeting in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss the impact of any potential ban.

There is speculation over a possible extension by the US of their current ban - which forbids personal electronic devices (PEDs) aboard US-bound flights departing from some Middle East and North African countries.

Aviation group Airports Council International (ACI) Europe says it "very much regrets this speculation". It says this reveals a lack of meaningful security cooperation between the EU and the US.

"This is not conducive to effective security and potentially compromises trust in the aviation security system", it adds.

Dublin Airport could be one of those hardest hit, as it handles the fifth-most US flights from the EU.

Following a letter to the US from EU Commissioners on May 9th, a meeting will take place Wednesday in Brussels between the US Department for Homeland Security (DHS) and the European Commission.

Ahead of this meeting, ACI Europe is warning about "the highly disruptive and far-reaching consequences" a ban on flights from European airports would have.

Operational impact

Fifty-nine airports in the European Common Aviation Area currently have direct services to the USA - with a total of 3.684 weekly flights being operated.

The five airports with the largest number of US weekly flights are London-Heathrow (761 flights), Paris-Charles de Gaulle (353 flights), Frankfurt (291 flights), Amsterdam-Schiphol (242 flights) and Dublin (179 flights).

These five airports account for nearly 50% of the weekly flights to the US.

Based on a sample of European airports, the number of passengers carrying PEDs is estimated to be between 60% and 90%.

ACI Europe says: "Given the volumes involved, extending the current US ban to European airports would result in significant disruptions, with implications on various aspects on airport and airline operations.

"Amongst these would be ad hoc screening checks at the gate of each flight, as well as the implementation of related processes to load PEDs into the hold of aircraft.

"This would require the deployment of a very large number of additional security staff.

"Appropriate staff are not readily available and would need to be trained."

Olivier Jankovec, director-general of ACI Europe says: "All in all, if the ban was to go ahead, it would hit the continent's busiest airports hardest, where a significant portion of US-bound flights would need to be cancelled at short notice.

"For the flights that could still operate there would be delays, which would compromise onward connections in the US.

"Beyond the immediate operational impact, we are concerned about the consequences that such a ban would have on demand for transatlantic air travel - and ultimately connectivity between Europe and the US."