US, UK ban large electronics on some flights from Middle East, Africa

Yolanda Curtis
March 22, 2017

All flyers, including American citizens, departing from those airports to the US must comply with the onboard electronics ban.

It's also one that can be easily circumvented, simply by taking a flight on a different airline that connects at another third-nation airport, like Amsterdam or Paris. That includes laptops, tablets, portable DVD players, games consoles and e-readers.

Earlier on Tuesday, the US Department of Homeland Security announced a ban on laptops, tablets and cameras in cabins on US-bound flights from 10 Middle East and African airports, citing the threat of terror attacks on commercial air travel.

Officials at Cairo's worldwide airport said they have received no instructions from the US, and Royal Jordanian airlines says it has not yet started to ban laptops, tablets, and other electronics from the cabin.

It will also affect people flying with foreign airlines including Turkish Airlines, Pegasus Airways, Atlas-Global Airlines, Middle East Airlines, Egyptair, Royal Jordanian, Tunis Air, Saudia, the BBC reported.

The biggest airlines affected by the USA ban will be Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar, along with Turkish Airlines.

It covers all inbound flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia but omits airports such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha. Price, who is a professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver, predicts that baggage theft will skyrocket, as when the United Kingdom implemented a similar ban in 2006, and that the danger of laptop batteries catching fire (which is far easier to detect when the laptops are in the cabin rather than in the hold) will increase.

The TSA said it chose the airports "based on the current threat picture" and after consultation with intelligence officials, though more airports could be added in the future.

The US move was prompted by reports that militant groups want to smuggle explosive devices inside electronic gadgets, officials said.

British Prime Minister Theresa May chaired a number of meetings on aviation security over the last few weeks, including this morning, where the new aviation security measures were agreed.

Turkey said it would ask Washington to reverse the large electronics ban after news of the new regulation broke.

"The safety of the travelling public is our highest priority", a UK Government spokesman told The Register.

He said security measures at Jordan's Queen Alia International Airport were among the most stringent in the region but the Americans had nonetheless taken "the right decision". The restriction doesn't apply to cellphones or medical devices "needed during flight", the airline's tweet said.

As the technology evolves, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said enemies of the USA are creating "innovative methods" to create terror in the skies.

Investigators suspect an explosion brought down the aircraft. United Kingdom restrictions, when announced, may differ from the USA ban.

Other reports by iNewsToday