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Lufthansa warns of disruption if electronics ban expands

Lufthansa chief executive Carsten Spohr warns that expanding a controversial ban on electronics on US-bound flights will result in major disruptions for the airline industry.

"It's going to be a huge mess," he said at an International Aviation Club luncheon in Washington DC earlier today. "It can't be managed at major hubs like Frankfurt without major interruptions," he told reporters afterwards at a roundtable.

Echoing European regulators, Spohr points out that storing a large amount of personal electronic devices in aircraft's cargo holds could result in battery fires.

"We are not willing to trade safety for security," he says.

US and European officials met last month for talks on aviation security, amid growing speculation that US officials plan to extend the electronics ban to include US flights from Europe. While the US Department of Homeland Security has yet to announce an expansion, it has repeatedly reiterated that the option is still on the table.

Lufthansa is the fifth largest airline on routes between the USA and Europe, FlightGlobal schedules data show.

Spohr says that any ban on large electronic devices on US flights from Europe will likely result in similar restrictions on Europe-bound flights in the other direction.

"If the ban is both ways, does that mean we don't have laptops on any flights at all? What would that mean for working professionals like you?"

Spohr, however, believes that an ongoing dialogue among government officials and airline industry organisations is open and inclusive. "The right people need to sit to come up with a smart solution and not just a solution that you roll out in 24 hours and think about afterwards," he says.

The US government imposed a ban on large electronic devices on US-bound flights from 10 airports, mostly in the Middle East. Airlines impacted by the rule have since reported a fall in US traffic.

FlightGlobal is organising the Flight Safety Symposium, which takes place in London on 26-27 September 2017. Click here for details

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