Transport Minister Simon Bridges doesn't expect a big shift New Zealand's stance on laptops in aircraft cabins.

Australia is considering following the lead of Britain and the United States in banning equipment bigger than cellphones from certain flights departing from the Middle East and North Africa. There are signs that the US may extend the ban to flights departing from the European Union.

Bridges said that while the director of the Civil Aviation Authority is reviewing the policy and will make the final call, this country wouldn't be overly swayed by what was happening internationally.

"The CAA director has ultimate responsibility and is working his way based on the evidence but I don't expect to see big lurches in our settings," Bridges told the Herald. "We pride ourselves as being predictable and evidence-based in New Zealand."


The US and Britain imposed different bans in March, in response to unspecified terrorist threats.

The US ban applies to the following airports (rather than airlines)
•Queen Alia International Airport, in Amman, Jordan
•Cairo International Airport, in Cairo, Egypt
•Ataturk International Airport, in Istanbul, Turkey
•King Abdul-Aziz International Airport, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
•King Khalid International Airport, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
•Kuwait International Airport, Farwaniya, Kuwait
•Mohammed V Airport, Casablanca, Morocco
•Hamad International Airport, Doha, Qatar
•Dubai International Airport, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
•Abu Dhabi International Airport), Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Britain excluded the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait and Morocco from the ban.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates while existing curbs affect 350 US-bound flights per week, extending it to the 28 European Union states plus Switzerland, Norway and Iceland would impact a further 390 flights a day, or more than 2500 a week.

That would cost passengers $655 million (NZ$943m) in lost productivity, US$216 million for longer travel times, and US$195 million for renting loaner devices on board, it says.

Emirates has said the US ban has had a direct impact on consumer demand for air travel into the US and had an impact on profits.

Up to 65 million people a year travel between Europe and North American, many of them business travellers who rely on their electronics to work during the flight.

British pilots have warned there is a risk of catastrophic fires from the lithium batteries in laptops being stored in cargo holds.


Bridges also referred to this. "There's no free lunch. The replacement in the carriage creates other risks," he said.

IATA has expressed frustration at the process used by governments to put in place the security measures which was woefully lacking.