The USA yesterday signed a new order to go into effect within 95 days at all US airports banning electronics ‘bigger than a cell-phone’ from being carried onto flights. Britain followed suit that day by signing a similar order.
The orders effect those coming from eight specific mostly Islamic countries. These countries include: Amman, Jordan; Cairo; Istanbul; Jidda and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia; Kuwait City; Casablanca, Morocco; Doha, Qatar; and Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
Citing a terror threat, the US decided it was best to tackle the problem head-on. This could however, affect business passengers who are American citizens who do travel back and forth with their laptops and work devices.
The New York Times has more:
Passengers on foreign airlines headed to the United States from 10 airports in eight majority-Muslim countries have been barred from carrying electronic devices larger than a cellphone under a new flight restriction enacted on Tuesday by the Trump administration.
Officials said the new directive was not based on information pointing to a credible, specific threat of an imminent attack. Instead, it reflected a new consensus among American intelligence agencies that terrorist groups such as the Islamic State and the Al Qaeda franchise in Yemen are increasingly trying to find ways to smuggle explosive devices hidden in electronic devices, like laptops.
Hours after the American action, the British government announced its own ban on electronic devices on flights.
The Department of Homeland Security said the restricted items on flights to the United States included laptop computers, tablets, cameras, travel printers and games bigger than a phone. The restrictions would not apply to aircraft crews, officials said in a briefing to reporters on Monday night that outlined the terms of the ban.
The new policy took effect at 3 a.m. Eastern time on Tuesday, and must be followed within 96 hours by airlines flying to the United States from airports in Amman, Jordan; Cairo; Istanbul; Jidda and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia; Kuwait City; Casablanca, Morocco; Doha, Qatar; and Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
The American ban on electronics applies only to flights on foreign carriers, and not American-operated airlines, which do not fly directly to the United States from the designated airports. Officials did not say how long the ban would remain in place or if other airports would be added.
In all, an estimated 50 flights each day into the United States would be affected. One of the world’s busiest airports, in Abu Dhabi, already requires American-bound passengers to undergo strict screening by United States customs officials before boarding flights. Abu Dhabi is one of 15 airports in the world to employ the Homeland Security preclearance techniques.
The British ban affects domestic and foreign airlines, including British Airways, the country’s largest. Foreign airlines affected by the order include Turkish Airlines, EgyptAir and Royal Jordanian, among others, and it affects direct flights to the United Kingdom from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.
Examples of attacks by extremist groups against transportation hubs over the past two years include the May 2015 bombing of an airliner in Egypt, the attempted airliner downing in Somalia last year and the armed attacks against airports in Brussels and Istanbul, which were also carried out in 2016.
The new bans on electronic devices have prompted a round of protests from passengers who now face the prospect of flying long hours without the use of laptops or tablets.
Banu Akdenizli, an associate professor of communication at Northwestern University’s campus in Doha, complained that the ban would affect her ability to work during a long flight to Greensboro, N.C., for a conference in April.
“To be honest with you, my immediate thought was this: This is a 20-hour flight,” she said. “I think as an academic or any business traveler, the function of a work flight is to be able to work on it, especially if you’re going to a conference.”