After US, UK too bans electronics on flights from Muslim nations

RSTV Bureau
Washington: President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May walk along the colonnades of the White House in Washington, Friday, Jan. 27, 2017.  Photo - AP/PTI

Washington: File photo of President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May walking along the colonnades of the White House in Washington, Friday, Jan. 27, 2017.
Photo – AP/PTI

After the US, United Kingdom has also put a ban on large electronics on flights from six Muslim-majority countries, citing terror threats.

The British security rules will cover around 14 airlines that operate direct flights from six Muslim-majority countries Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia.

Under the new arrangement, passengers boarding flights to the UK from the countries affected will not be allowed to take any phones, laptops or tablets larger than a normal sized mobile or smartphone (Length: 16.0cm, Width: 9.3cm, Depth: 1.5cm) into the cabin of the plane.

UK’s decision comes after the US, which had banned large electronics in cabin baggage from 8 Muslim-majority nations in Middle East and Africa including global hubs like Dubai and Istanbul, citing terror threats.

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.”

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

“The additional security measures may cause some disruption for passengers and flights, and we understand the frustration that will cause, but our top priority will always be to maintain the safety of British nationals,” a UK government spokesperson said.

The government said it has also been in close touch with the Americans to “fully understand” their position.

The British airlines affected include British Airways, EasyJet, Jet2.com, Monarch, Thomas Cook and Thomson.

The foreign airlines hit by the new ban include Turkish Airlines, Pegasus Airways, Atlas-Global Airlines, Middle East Airlines, Egyptair, Royal Jordanian, Tunis Air and Saudia.

They have been informed about the changes and will begin implementing the ban immediately.

The attempted downing of an airliner in Somalia last year was linked to a laptop device, and some media reports have claimed that the new security precautions are an attempt to stop similar incidents.

(With inputs from agencies)