New security measures including stricter passenger screening take effect on Thursday on all U.S.-bound flights to comply with government requirements aimed at responding to threats of hidden explosives, airlines said, Reuters reports.
Airlines contacted by Reuters said the new measures could include short security 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 2,100 commercial flights arriving daily in the United States, on 180 airlines from 280 airports in 105 countries.
U.S. Transportation Security Administration officials are giving some airlines or airports additional time to comply with the new interviews as long the U.S. government has approved security plans by Thursday.
“TSA will continue to work closely with our aviation partners and verify that all security enhancements are accurately implemented,” TSA spokeswoman Lucy Martinez said in a statement Wednesday.
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 concerns that explosives could be hidden in electronic devices.
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 said 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.
“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 Chief Operating Officer Walter Cho told Reuters in Taipei.