The Department of Homeland of Security today announced new carry-on restrictions that prevent U.S.-bound passengers from eight Middle Eastern countries from carrying personal electronic devices larger than a smartphone in the passenger cabin.
The TSA order, which does not have a stated end date, covers laptops, tablets, e-readers, cameras, portable DVD players, and handheld gaming devices larger than a smartphone. According to the "emergency amendment", such forbidden devices must be stowed in checked baggage.
The list of Muslim-majority countries includes Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. The nine airlines impacted by the order are Royal Jordanian, EgyptAir, Turkish Airlines, Saudia, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Ethiad Airways.
If the airlines fail to implement the changes within 96 hours, the Federal Aviation Authority could revoke their clearance certificates, which would ban them from flying into U.S. airspace. No U.S. airline is affected by the ban because none currently operates direct flights to and from the above destinations.
U.S. Administration aides declined to comment on any new or specific threats, but said the government had made the decision based on evaluated intelligence suggesting some terrorist organizations have considered using consumer electronics as a way to hide explosives and smuggle them onto passenger planes. It's not yet clear if or how this ruling relates to the Trump administration's revised travel ban, which is currently being challenged by U.S. courts.
The full airport ban list announced by the Department of Homeland Security includes: Queen Alia International Airport (AMM), Cairo International Airport (CAI), Ataturk International Airport (IST), King Abdul-Aziz International Airport (JED), King Khalid International Airport (RUH), Kuwait International Airport (KWI), Mohammed V Airport (CMN), Hamad International Airport (DOH), Dubai International Airport (DXB), and Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH).
(Via Associated Press.)
Update: The U.K. is also reportedly placing an electronics device ban on some flights, suggesting the actions of both governments is in response to specific intelligence.
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