The Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) ban on laptops and other large electronic devices in airline cabins officially ended Monday when the ban was lifted on Saudi Arabian Airlines, the last airline to which it had applied.
A TSA spokesperson told Reuters that the U.S. government lifted the restrictions at King Abudlaziz International Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabian Airlines’ main hub, on Monday, and that officials would visit King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh later this week to confirm security measures were in place there as well.
The ban was first issued back in March on flights to the United States from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa over fears that terrorists could smuggle explosives hidden in laptops or other large electronics, and then detonate them manually in the cabin.
Once the ban was in place, U.S. officials reportedly began considering expanding it to additional flights to the U.S. from Europe, a proposal that drew criticism from the travel industry over the disruption it could cause to business travelers – one forecast from the Business Travel Coalition (BTC) found that such an expansion could have affected as many as 3,500 flights per week this summer and 65 million passengers per year.
U.S. and European security officials met multiple times over the course of the past few months, eventually resulting in a new set of security measures aimed at avoiding an expanded laptop ban that were announced in late June. The new rules include additional screening at airports, but no changes to items allowed in carry-on and checked baggage.
Since the new rules were announced the ban has been slowly lifted from affected airlines as they implemented the new security measures, with Emirates, Turkish Airlines, Etihad and Qatar Airways all gradually putting the new policies in place.