WASHINGTON/TAIPEI (Reuters) – New security measures including stricter passenger screening take effect on Thursday on all U.S.-bound flights to comply with government requirements designed to avoid an in-cabin ban on laptops, airlines said.
“We see this as a big issue for China 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 COO Walter Cho told Reuters in Taipei.
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.
Airlines for America, a U.S. trade group, said the changes “are complex security measures,” but praised U.S. officials for giving airlines flexibility in meeting the new rules.
Alexandre de Juniac, CEO of the International Air Transport Association, said the industry understood security threats to aviation were made regularly but in this case the U.S. 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.”
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.
A Transportation Security Administration 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 security and keep the entire traveling public safe.”
The TSA 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 and Jamie Freed in Taipei; Additional reporting by Victoria Bryan in Berlin; Editing by Steve Orlofsky, Himani Sarkar and Mark Potter