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Air passenger association prefers DHS biometrics initiative to electronics ban expansion

APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association) has requested U.S. government to put a hold on the electronics ban expansion to Europe during a biometrics workshop with major airlines and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (U.S. DHS) Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

During his presentation at Aviation Festival Americas, APEX CEO Joe Leader recommended that passengers should be allowed to bring electronics onboard for flights with restricted routes through the U.S. DHS CBP’s biometric facial recognition initiative in place of the electronics ban.

“Having the electronics ban spread to the European Union for flights to the United States would damage the personal freedoms integral to international air travel. We must stand together with government solutions for personal electronics that enable both security and accessibility for our airline passengers worldwide,” said Leader. “Biometric identification of passengers that are pre-cleared to travel with electronics would enable a viable potential solution with the U.S. DHS CBP ready to provide immediate technological facilitation.”

The Trump administration issued the controversial order in March banning all large electronics on carry-on luggage for direct flights departing from the Middle East to the United States.

The U.S. government is now considering expanding the electronics ban for all flights from Europe to the U.S.

In the U.S. alone, airline carriers in less than 30 days have removed more than one million annual passenger long-haul seats from the airports affected by the electronics ban.

“As the leading international airline association focused on passenger experience, APEX has actively and repeatedly expressed that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.K. Department of Transport should institute government-approved solutions for electronics rather than the existing airline electronics ban,” Leader added. “Fighting potential threats means finding government solutions that do not take the laptops, tablets, e-readers, cameras, and large phones out of the hands of the millions of law-abiding passengers that use them every day. We owe our air travelers worldwide the best options to make their flights enjoyable and productive.”

APEX released its Global Passenger Survey last year, which found that airline passengers frequently bring their personal electronics devices on-board aircraft for use in-flight.

The study found that 43 percent of worldwide airline passengers bring a tablet device on-board, with 70 percent using their tablet device in-flight; 38 percent bring a laptop computer on-board, with 42 percent using their laptop in-flight; and 22 percent bring e-readers on-board, with 77 percent using their e-reader in-flight.

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