Mideast Airlines Say New US Restrictions Will Force Changes

Mideast Airlines Say New US Restrictions Will Force Changes

Aviation security expert Brian Jenkins of Rand Corp said the ban was likely driven by intelligence of a possible terrorist attack, and USA officials may also be concerned over inadequate passenger screening, and "insider" cooperation between passengers and airport or airline employees in certain countries.

The new ban has been under consideration for several weeks, according to USA media.

Via e-mail, a DHS spokesperson told Ars, "We have no comment on potential security precautions but will provide an update when appropriate".

Flight and cabin crews are not covered by the new restrictions.

The airports affected are in Amman, Cairo, Kuwait City, Doha, Dubai, Istanbul, Abu Dhabi, Casablanca, Morocco; Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Some passengers may not realize their flights are affected since they could be ticketed on a codeshare with these carriers.

Cape Town - Travelling to the U.S. has become a roller-coaster headache for most travellers - as the latest ban issued requires travellers on flights originating from 10 specific airports to the USA to pack electronic devices, bigger than a smartphone, into their checked-in baggage. Passengers can still carry cell phones and approved medical devices.

When does it go into effect?

Everything else, the airline said, would need to be packed in checked luggage. It has no expiration date.

In the tweet, which was later deleted, airline officials advised passengers of the new requirements that would affect travellers on its flights to New York, Chicago, and Detroit and Montreal.

The new rule is the latest travel restriction Donald Trump's administration has handed the airline industry.

Word of the ban was first made public Monday afternoon - not by United States administration officials, but in a tweet sent out by Royal Jordanian Airlines, reported the Washington Post.

Who will enforce the ban?

AFP reports the reason for the device ban was not immediately clear. There are no specific criteria for which devices are prohibited, which could lead to confusion over devices that are phone-like.

That agency also declines to address questions directly.

Is this really about security?

NBC News reported that a senior administration official said the ban was put into place because "evaluated intelligence indicates that terror groups continue to target aviation, to include smuggling explosives in electronic devices".