Electronics Ban Expands to Flights From Eight Countries in Middle East, Africa

Something new to bear in mind for clients flying from the Middle East and Africa: U.S. officials have issued a ban on bringing electronic devices into cabins for flights from eight countries in the two regions.

The move was first reported Monday afternoon when Royal Jordanian airlines announced the ban on portable electronic devices on Twitter. The ban applies to devices including laptops, tablets, cameras, DVD players and electronic games, but does not apply to cell phones and medial devices needed during the flight. Travelers flying with the affected devices will need to pack them in their checked luggage.

The ban applies to flights from the following airports:

  • Queen Alia International Airport (AMM)
  • Cairo International Airport (CAI)
  • Ataturk International Airport (IST)
  • King Abdulaziz International Airport (JED)
  • King Khalid International Airport (RUH)
  • Kuwait International Airport (KWI)
  • Mohammed V International Airport (CMN)
  • Hamad International Airport (DOH)
  • Dubai International Airport (DXB)
  • Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH)

The following airlines are affected by the new rule:

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

According to the BBC, the new policy will affect approximately 50 flights per day.

What’s the reasoning behind the ban? A senior U.S. administration official told the Washington Post that “evaluated intelligence” indicated that terrorists were continuing to target commercial flights 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,” officials told the Post.

"These steps are both necessary and proportional to the threat," the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, told USA Today. "The global aviation system remains a top target and proper security requires that we continually adapt our defenses."

At this time no imminent threat has been reported. Affected airlines have 96 hours to implement the new policy.

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