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 order by the Trump administration. The authorities cited terror threats as the reason behind the new move.
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 10 international airports that face the ban are in Cairo in Egypt, Dubai and Abu Dhabi in UAE, Istanbul in Turkey, Doha in Qatar, Amman in Jordan, Kuwait City, Casablanca, Morocco, and, Jeddah and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.
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.”
The open-ended ban will affect more than 50 flights from these 10 airports.
The airlines affected by the ban are Egyptair, Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Turkish Airlines.
These airlines were notified of the procedures by the Transportation Security Administration on Tuesday and were asked to comply within 96 hours.
“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 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.
However, the Royal Jordanian Airlines told passengers that medical devices were allowed.
(With inputs from agencies)