Update: The UK has implemented a similar ban, though restricted to six rather than eight countries. The UK ban applies to flights to the UK from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.
The U.S. government has announced a ban on carrying tablets, laptops and other ‘large electronic devices’ in cabin baggage on flights to the USA from 10 airports. The measure is said to be in response to intelligence on terrorism threats from eight countries, mostly Middle Eastern and North African, reports the BBC.
Officials said extremists were planning to bring down passenger jets with bombs hidden in laptops, tablets cameras, DVD players and electronic games.
The measure will affect nine airlines operating out of 10 airports. Large electronic devices will only be allowed on board in checked baggage. Phones are exempt from the new rules.
Among the airports affected are major business destinations.
- Queen Alia International, Amman, Jordan
- Cairo International Airport, Egypt
- Ataturk Airport, Istanbul, Turkey
- King Abdulaziz International, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
- King Khalid International, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
- Kuwait International Airport
- Mohammed V International, Casablanca, Morocco
- Hamad International, Doha, Qatar
- Dubai International, United Arab Emirates
- Abu Dhabi International, United Arab Emirates
The plan has reportedly been under consideration for several weeks, with the Department of Homeland Security citing attacks dating back to 2015.
The US government is concerned about terrorists’ ongoing interest in targeting commercial aviation, including transportation hubs over the past two years, as evidenced by the 2015 airliner downing in Egypt; the 2016 attempted airliner downing in Somalia; and the 2016 armed attacks against airports in Brussels and Istanbul. Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items.
Airlines were notified at 7am today, and have been given 96 hours to implement the ban.