'We cannot play international whack-a-mole with each new threat,' Homeland Security chief says.

 

The U.S. on Wednesday issued more stringent regulations for all in-bound flights, citing threats to aviation safety.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in the coming months passengers and electronic devices will face more thorough screening, passenger areas and areas around aircraft will need to have increased security, advanced technologies must be deployed, canine screening expanded and additional preclearance locations will be established.

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"We cannot play international whack-a-mole with each new threat," Homeland Security Chief John Kelly said at a security conference.

"Our enemies are constantly working to find new methods for disguising explosives, recruiting insiders, and hijacking aircraft," he said. "It is time to raise the global baseline of aviation security."

Approximately 280 airports in 105 countries will be affected, along with 180 foreign and U.S. airlines, according to the DHS.

The department said it, along with the Transportation Security Agency, will work to fully implement the measures with "aviation stakeholders" in the coming months.

Those that fail to adhere to the new measures within "certain timeframes run the risk of additional security restrictions being imposed".

That could include a complete ban on electronics in carry-on and checked luggage, or suspended U.S. entry for airlines that fail to or are slow to follow suit, Kelly said.

"However, we expect all airlines will work with us to keep their aircraft, their crew, and their passengers safe," he said.

The announcement follows a decision in March to ban all electronics larger than a cell phone from being carried on commercial flights coming from 10 Middle East and North Africa airports, including Istanbul's Ataturk International.

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