A number of airlines operating to the US have indicated they will be implementing new security measures this week for US-bound flights.

US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) spokesperson Mike England told ATW the measures are part of the continuing implementation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) mandate, issued in June, requiring 180 airlines operating to the US to enhance security. The measures are part of DHS and TSA “efforts to raise the global aviation security baseline,” he explained, adding, “The security measures affect all individuals—international passengers and US citizens—traveling to the United States from a last point of departure international location.”

TSA is not specifically detailing the newest measures being put in place. Based on airline statements, it appears the measures being added this week involve airlines asking questions to US-bound passengers.

Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific, for example, said passengers flying on nonstop flights to the US will not be able to do remote drops of checked bags as of Oct. 26 and will be required to “check in their baggage at the dedicated counters … at Hong Kong International Airport, where they will be subject to a short security interview.”

Cathay added, “Passengers without check-in baggage should proceed to the boarding gate directly as early as possible, where they will also be subject to a short security interview. We therefore advise all passengers traveling to the US to arrive at the airport three hours prior to departure to ensure they can proceed through all airport checkpoints in good time.”

Germany’s Lufthansa and Dubai-based Emirates Airline have also said passenger interviews for US-bound flights will be initiated this week.

After instituting a ban in March on passengers flying nonstop to the US from 10 airports in the Middle East and Africa from carrying personal electronic devices (PEDs) larger than a smartphone aboard aircraft, DHS contemplated a wider “laptop ban.” But after discussions with other governments and warnings from airlines about the implications of such a ban (including fire safety concerns related to PEDs in checked baggage), DHS instead implemented enhanced security requirements in late June for 180 airlines flying to the US from 280 airports around the world. DHS removed all PED restrictions in July, saying airlines flying to the US had “successfully implemented the first phase of enhanced security measures.”

“As we move forward, TSA will continue to work closely with our aviation partners and verify that all security enhancements are accurately implemented,” England said. “As threats continue to evolve, we and our partners around the world will continue to work together to improve intelligence sharing and standardize best practices, while also pursuing technological advancements that will make flying more secure for everyone.”

Aaron Karp aaron.karp@penton.com