Washington, Mar 21: Passengers traveling to the US from 10 airports in eight Muslim-majority countries, including from global hubs like Dubai, cannot carry large electronic devices like cameras and laptops as cabin baggage under a new Trump administration order today, citing terrorism concerns.
According to the tough security restrictions, passengers will have to check in any devices bigger than a smartphone — including iPads, Kindles and laptops — before clearing security or boarding, US officials said. The open-ended ban will affect more than 50 flights from 10 airports, including major global hubs like Dubai and Istanbul, according to senior administration officials.
The 10 international airports covered by the ban are in Cairo, Egypt; Dubai and Abu Dhabi, UAE; Istanbul, Turkey; Doha, Qatar; Amman, Jordan; Kuwait City; Casablanca, Morocco; and Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The nine airlines are Egyptair, Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Turkish Airlines.
The nine airlines affected by the ban were notified of the procedures by the Transportation Security Administration today and must comply within 96 hours. Senior US administration officials said the rules were prompted by “evaluated intelligence” that terrorists continue to target commercial aviation by “smuggling explosives in portable electronic devices.”
“Based on this information, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and Transportation Security Administration acting administrator Huban Gowadia have determined it is necessary to enhance security procedures for passengers at certain last-point-of-departure airports to the United States,” The Washington Post quoted an official as saying.
The officials said US carriers are not affected because none of them fly from the airports in question to the US. The ban involves some of the widest reaching aviation security measures taken since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. It means all laptops, cameras, tablets, e-readers, portable DVD players, electronic gaming devices and travel printers or scanners will have to be kept in the cargo hold for the duration of the flight.
Royal Jordanian Airlines told passengers yesterday that medical devices were still allowed. If the airlines don’t comply with the order within the 96 hour time frame, “we will work with the FAA to pull their certificate and they will not be allowed to fly to the United States,” CNN quoted one senior US official as saying.
He said the move is partly based on intelligence that they believe indicates Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is close to being able to hide explosives with little or no metal content in electronic devices in order to target commercial aircraft.