While it is not known when the announcement will be made, Reuters has quoted six U.S. and European officials as saying the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is likely to Ban the use of laptops in the cabin on incoming European flights. However, talk of the ban has given rise to fear of fire in the hold from stored electronic devices.

DHS in talks relating to airline issues and domestic threats

Reuters was told by DHS spokesman Dave Lapan that Secretary John Kelly has not made a final decision but the department continues to evaluate likely threats and is currently in discussions with airline representatives over the threat.

If enacted, the ban would affect airlines like United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and the American Airlines Group. Reuters also reports that Kelly will be giving a classified briefing to senators relating to airline issues and domestic terror threats on Thursday.

The latest possible ban follows a similar action taken by the Trump administration back in March, which related to flights from 10 airports in North Africa and the Middle East. In that action no electronic device larger than a cellphone could be taken into the cabin on the inbound flight. According to DHS, that particular ban will remain in place and that additional destinations in that part of the world may be added to the list, where deemed necessary.

Following the U.S. ban, the U.K. followed suit with a similar laptop or large device ban on flights from six countries in the Middle East.

According to DHS, this move is necessary due to terrorist threats that have been aimed at commercial aviation. The department said it is constantly evaluating terror threats and aims to protect travelers, but without any “unnecessary disruption” to their journey.

Laptops would be checked baggage, leading to fire risks

Passengers traveling from Europe to the U.S. will still be able to carry their laptops as part of their checked baggage. However, as noted by the Sacramento Bee, it was unclear how it would be ensured that lithium batteries would not explode in the hold during the flight.

That report states that devices using this type of battery have caused fires on aircraft before, but points out that should a fire start in the cargo hold, there would be no one available to extinguish it.

European regulators have reportedly already warned against placing what might possibly be hundreds of electronic devices in the hold of planes on long-haul flights, saying it could compromise safety.

The reasoning for considering the ban comes from the fact that Islamic State terrorists have, in the past, targeted airports in Europe, including the two suicide bombers who killed 32 people in Brussels airport and a metro station in March 2016.