U.S. bans laptops and tablets on flights from eight Middle East countries

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Travelers from eight Muslim-majority countries are prohibited from carrying devices larger than a smartphone onboard U.S.-bound flights.

The Department of Homeland Security is rolling out new restrictions for carry-on items for U.S.-bound flights from eight Middle East countries. Electronic devices larger than a smartphone are prohibited from being carried onboard flights from nine airlines operating out of 10 airports in eight countries. People flying from these airports will have to stow laptops, e-readers, portable gaming devices, and cameras in their check-in baggage.

The DHS cited attempts in the last two years involving laptop bombs
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for the enhanced security measures:

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. Based on this trend, the Transportation Security Administration, in consultation with relevant Departments and Agencies, has determined it is prudent to enhance security, to include airport security procedures for passengers at certain last point of departure airports to the United States.

These are the airports where the new restrictions will be enforced:

  • 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 ban doesn't affect any U.S.-based carriers as they do not have direct flights from the airports mentioned above. It does, however, affect these airlines:

  • Royal Jordanian
  • Egypt Air
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Saudi Arabian Airlines
  • Kuwait Airways
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • Qatar Airways
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways

The airlines have until Friday to comply with the new restrictions, failing which they risk losing their operator license in the U.S. As of now, there's no end date to the restrictions, with the DHS stating that they will be in place until the "threat changes."


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