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Airlines get ready for new US security rules that take effect tomorrow

They will affect 325,000 airline passengers on about 2,000 commercial flights


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File photo of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Photo: Reuters

New measures including stricter passenger screening take effect on Thursday on all US-bound flights to comply with government requirements designed to avoid an in-cabin ban on laptops, said.

contacted by Reuters said the new measures could include short interviews with passengers at check-in or the boarding gate, sparking concerns over flight delays and extended processing time.

They will affect 325,000 airline passengers on about 2,000 commercial flights arriving daily in the United States, on 180 from 280 airports in 105 countries.

The United States announced the new rules in June to end its restrictions on carry-on electronic devices on planes coming from 10 airports in eight countries in the Middle East and North Africa in response to unspecified threats.

Those restrictions were lifted in July, but the Trump administration said it could reimpose measures on a case by case basis if and airports did not boost

European and US officials said at the time that had 120 days to comply with the measures, including increased passenger screening. The 120-day deadline is Thursday. had until late July to expand explosive trace detection testing.

"We see this as a big issue for Airlines," Steve Chang, senior vice president of the Taiwanese firm told reporters on Wednesday, adding the airline was trying to consult with the American Institute in the country over the issue.

Korean Airlines, South Korea's flagship carrier, also said it had a lot of concerns with the new measures.

"We are asking customers to show up at the airport early ...It's just inconvenient for the passengers," President and Chief Operating Officer Walter Cho told Reuters in Taipei.

Group said on Tuesday the measures would be in place by Thursday and travelers could face short interviews at check-in or at the gate.

Economy passengers on Lufthansa's Swiss airline have been asked to check in at least 90 minutes before departure.

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd said it would suspend in-town check-in and self bag-drop services for passengers booked on direct flights to the United States. The airline said passengers would also have short interviews and it has advised travelers to arrive three hours before departure.

Singapore Ltd said the checks could include inspections of personal electronic devices as well as questioning during check-in and boarding.

for America, a US trade group, said the changes "are complex measures" but praised U.S. officials for giving flexibility in meeting the new rules.

Alexandre de Juniac, CEO of the Air Transport Association, said the industry understood threats to aviation were made regularly but in this case the US government had not shared any specific dangers before changing the rules.

"What we have seen is very strange," he told reporters in Taipei. "Unilateral measures announced without any prior consultation... That is something that is very concerning and disturbing."

At their annual meeting in Taipei, Association of Asia Pacific (AAPA) members passed a resolution calling for measures to be risk-based, outcome-focused and proportionate to the probable threat.

"Unilateral actions taken by individual governments reacting to emerging threats may result in unnecessary disruption or lead to unintended safety consequences," said the members.

AAPA includes most large Asian but not mainland Chinese carriers.

"The risk is other countries make similar demands," AAPA Director General Andrew Herdman said.

U.S. authorities in June also increased around aircraft and in passenger areas, and other places where travelers can be cleared by U.S. officials before they depart.

A Transportation Administration (TSA) spokeswoman declined to discuss the specific changes but said "the United States continues to work with our partners to raise the baseline of global aviation and keep the entire travelling public safe."

The TSA said in July it was imposing new rules requiring US domestic airline travelers to remove all electronic items larger than mobile phones such as tablets, e-readers and video game consoles from carry-on baggage for screening.

First Published: Wed, October 25 2017. 22:08 IST