by Michael J. Shapiro | June 28, 2017
Secretary of US Department of Homeland Security John Kelly announced Wednesday that enhanced security measures will be implemented worldwide for all inbound commercial flights to the United States. To be implemented over the coming weeks and months, the directive will apply to 180 airlines coming from approximately 280 airports worldwide - every inbound flight. 

The new measures will be both seen and unseen, according to Secretary Kelly. They will include enhanced overall passenger screening; heightened screening of personal electronic devices; increased security protocols around aircraft and in passenger areas, and the deployment of advanced technology, expanded canine screening and additional pre-clearance locations.

The ban on larger electronic devices from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa will be removed once the airports comply with the enhanced security directives issued today, and their procedures are verified by TSA inspectors. 

"It is time to raise the global baseline of aviation security," said Secretary Kelly today in an address. "We cannot play international whack-a-mole with each new threat. Instead, we must put in place new measures across the board to keep the traveling public safe and make it harder for terrorists to succeed."

The department will not share details related to the security directives, but advises passengers they and their property may experience additional screening before boarding U.S.-bound flights.

"With this announcement," added Kelly, "we send a clear message that inaction is not an option. Those who choose not to cooperate or are slow to adopt these measures could be subject to other restrictions - including a ban on electronic devices on their airplanes, or even a suspension of their flights to the United States."

Some of the measures will be implemented immediately, according to the DHS.

Jonathan Grella, U.S. Travel Association vice president for public affairs, expressed support for the new measures. "It is imperative that travel remain safe and viable," he said in a statement. "We're glad stakeholder engagement is progressing, as these matters are complex, the stakes are high, and we want to be a constructive partner on security. It's not just the travel and tourism industry that's affected by any new restrictions-it's our entire economy."

However, Grella also expressed concern for the effects such messaging could have on the travel industry. "Travel is the fundamental artery of trade and commerce for our country - and that artery is beginning to clog as a result of both perceived and actual security hurdles for travelers," he added. "We cannot push our travel system to the limit, or risk the unintended consequences of too heavy a burden on airports, airlines and travelers. We must ensure security at all costs, but our government also has an imperative to keep trade and commerce flowing.

"Once again, we urge the Trump administration to offset any limiting security messages and policies with a serious and sustained welcome message to legitimate travelers. The world must hear that we are closed to terror, but open for business."