Large Electronic Device Ban Issued on Flights to U.S. from Select Countries

Large Electronics Ban

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Citing “growing concerns” over the threat of aviation-based terrorist activity, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) — as well as its British counterpart — respectively issued bans earlier this week on “large electronic devices” from being carried aboard domestic-bound flights from 10 international airports, predominantly in the Middle East and North Africa, according to a Reuters report.

While these “large devices” — including tablets, laptops, DVD players, and other devices larger than a cellphone — can still be transported by air, if packed away in a flyer’s checked baggage; constituent with the terms of the bans, they may not be brought aboard a flight via carryon baggage.

“Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items,” DHS said in a Q&A-based statement that was issued on Tuesday morning. “Based on this trend, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), 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 enhancements include more stringent measures applied to 10 specific airports.”

Within hours of the announcement by DHS, its British counterpart issued a similar “large electronics” ban — albeit a bit more limited in scope, pertaining only to laptop computers being brought aboard the main cabin, though applicable to 14 airline carriers’ outbound flights to the U.K. from 10 Middle Eastern “hotspots,” including origin countries like Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, as the ban pertains to the U.S., a total of nine airlines — Royal Jordanian, EgyptAir, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates, and Etihad Airways — have been affected; and the ban exclusively applies to U.S.-bound flights from the following International Airports:

  • 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

According to U.S. officials, affected airports have been given 96 hours — ending at 07:00 GMT on Saturday March 25, 2017 —to employ these guidelines as applicable to large electronic devices. The ban has no tentative “end date,” according to a BBC report. However, an Emirates spokeswoman expressed her sentiments to Reuters that the ban would go into effect on March 25th, with a tentative end date of October 14, 2017.

Some might be quick to affiliate this electronic devices ban with the Trump administration’s recent spat of travel bans from several Middle Eastern/North African countries; however, according to DHS, who cited multiple attacks on planes and airports spanning the last few years, terrorists have become increasingly crafty in their attempts to smuggle explosive devices aboard commercial airliners.

DHS noted that bombs, in particular, had been concealed by items as perceptibly harmless as a soda can, to as complex as a laptop computer, which was instrumental in the failed Somali attack which took place last year.

“Terrorists have historically tried to hide explosives in shoes, use liquid explosives, and conceal explosives in printers,” the DHS statement noted.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond, a British government spokesperson issued a statement citing that “The additional security measures may cause some disruption for passengers and flights” and added, “our top priority will always be to maintain the safety of British nationals.”

What are your thoughts on this recent large electronic devices ban? Let us know in the comments.

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