WASHINGTON, Oct 24 (Reuters) - New rules on all U.S.-bound flights take effect on Thursday including stricter passenger screening to comply with government security measures designed to avoid expanding an in-cabin ban on laptops, airlines said Tuesday.
Airlines contacted by Reuters said the new measures, which could include short security interviews with passengers, would be in place by Thursday.
They will affect 325,000 airline passengers on about 2,000 commercial flights arriving daily in the United States, on 180 airlines from 280 airports in 105 countries, and industry trade group Airlines for America has said the changes might cause disruptions.
The U.S. announced the new rules in June to end the government’s 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 security threats.
Those restrictions were lifted in July but the Trump administration said it could reimpose measures on a case by case basis if airlines and airports did not boost security.
European and U.S. officials told Reuters at the time that airlines had 120 days to comply with the measures, including increased passenger screening. The 120-day deadline is Thursday. Airlines had until late July to expand explosive trace detection testing.
Lufthansa 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 security interviews and it has advised travelers to arrive three hours before departure.
U.S. authorities in June also increased security around aircraft and in passenger areas, and other places where travelers can be cleared by U.S. officials before they depart.
Then Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said at the time the new rules require “more thorough passenger vetting, and new measures designed to mitigate the potential threat of insider attacks.”
The Transportation Security Administration said in July it was imposing new security rules requiring U.S. 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. (Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington. Additional reporting by Victoria Bryan in Berlin, Jamie Freed in Singapore; Editing by Susan Thomas)