On March 21, the U.S announced the ban of any electronic devices larger than a mobile phone such as tablets, laptops, and Kindle. The devices are restricted from bringing into flight cabins, so passengers must store the devices in checked-in baggage.
The ban was implemented with any US bound flights from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa. The threat was a concern because terrorists can hide explosives in those devices. Australian travellers and jet-setters flying to the States with Qatar, Etihad and the Gulf Airlines Emirates can be affected.
Recently Kelly said that his agency is considering to expand the ban to an additional 71 foreign airports with U.S bound flights. The airport names are under consideration and no final decisions were made. However, the number of airports could be reduced if they’re willing to adopt electronic screening procedures. The procedures are still under development by the U.S Homeland Security.
In recent talks with industry leaders, from other nations, Kelly considered banning devices on board flights that are departing from the U.S too.
“The ban is necessary because of a very, very real threat — a very sophisticated threat,” said Kelly.
In addition to the government efforts in protecting against threats, U.S officials have begun developing new standards for electronic searches with counterparts in the European Union and elsewhere.
Following the U.S ban, the UK too acted and imposed their own ban on selected inbound flights to the UK.
The airports confirmed for the ban includes both Abu Dhabi and Dubai International Airport hubs to Etihad Airways and Emirates, Doha’s Hamad International Airport home to Qatar Airways, and Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport – Turkish Airlines’ hub.
Adding to the list are Cairo International Airports, Kuwait City and Casablanca’s Mohammed V Airport. Not to mention Qantas partner Royal Jordanian’s base in Amman, the Queen Alia International Airport. Other airports include Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport in Saudi Arabia, Jeddah’s King Abdul-Aziz International Airport. These bans will most definitely affect traveller travelling with SkyTeam alliance member Saudia.
The new ban prompted quite a number of unhappy passengers. When the flights are long, many business travellers won’t be able to work while on board.