Explained: The US and UK ban electronics on flights

Large electronic devices such as laptops have been banned from cabin luggage on certain flights by the US and UK as a precaution against potential “terror threats”.

The ban applies to a variety of devices larger than a smart phone.

The “anti-terrorist” precaution applied to flights from airports in North Africa‚ the Middle East and Turkey – and flights on certain airlines – to the US and UK.

There is no indication of how long the ban will be enforced for and more airports may be added to the list.

Why?

The US Department of Homeland Security explained that it was “concerned about terrorists’ ongoing interest in targeting commercial aviation‚ including transportation hubs over the past two years”.

This could be done by “smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items”.

Which items are on the banned list?

The wording is vague but the ban applies to anything larger than a smart phone so would affect items such as tablets‚ portable DVD players‚ gaming consoles‚ laptops and E-readers.

The Department of Homeland Security said‚ “the enhancement in security will require that all personal electronic devices (PEDs) larger than a cell phone or smart phone be placed in checked baggage.

“These items will no longer be allowed to be carried onto aircraft at 10 select airports where flights are departing for the United States. Approved medical devices may be brought into the cabin after additional screening.”

Which airports are affected?

The BBC has listed them as:
Mohammed V International‚ Casablanca‚ Morocco
Ataturk Airport‚ Istanbul‚ Turkey
Cairo International Airport‚ Egypt
Queen Alia International‚ Amman‚ Jordan
King Abdulaziz International‚ Jeddah‚ Saudi Arabia
King Khalid International‚ Riyadh‚ Saudi Arabia
Kuwait International Airport
Hamad International‚ Doha‚ Qatar
Abu Dhabi International‚ United Arab Emirates
Dubai International‚ United Arab Emirates

Which flights are affected?

The BBC reported that‚ “British Airways and EasyJet are among the airlines affected by the UK ban.

“The nine airlines affected by the US ban are Royal Jordanian‚ EgyptAir‚ Turkish Airlines‚ Saudi Arabian Airlines‚ Kuwait Airways‚ Royal Air Maroc‚ Qatar Airways‚ Emirates and Etihad Airways.”

Is it safe to travel by air?

The Department of Homeland Security said‚ “Yes. Today‚ all air travellers are subject to a robust security system that employs multiple layers of security‚ both seen and unseen‚ including:

Intelligence gathering and analysis
Cross-checking passenger manifests against watch-lists
Thorough screening at checkpoints
Random canine team screening at airports
Reinforced cockpit doors
Federal air marshals
Armed pilots
A vigilant public

“In combination‚ these layers provide enhanced security creating a much stronger and protected transportation system for the traveling public. TSA continually assesses and evaluates the current threat environment and adjusts security measures as necessary to ensure the highest levels of aviation security without unnecessary disruption to travellers.”

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