The United States has ended a ban on passengers carrying laptops on board US-bound flights from certain airports in the Middle East and North Africa, bringing to an end one of the controversial travel restrictions imposed by President Donald Trump's administration. Riyadh's King Khalid International Airport was the last of 10 airports to be exempted from the ban, which was launched four months ago, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirmed in a tweet late on Wednesday. Middle East carriers have blamed Trump's travel restrictions, which include banning citizens of some Muslim majority countries from visiting the US, for a downturn in demand on US routes. In March, the US banned large electronics in cabins on flights from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa over concerns that explosives could be concealed in the devices taken on board aircraft. The ban has been lifted on the nine airlines affected - Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Royal Jordanian, Kuwait Airways, EgyptAir and Royal Air Maroc - which are the only carriers to fly direct to the US from the region.
The Department of Homeland Security announced a ban on any electronic devices larger than a smartphone on certain flights out of the Middle East and Africa, according to a new security measure implemented Tuesday. Laptops, e-readers, cameras and other portable devices will have to be checked and stowed as baggage before travelers pass through security at certain airports. "The U.S. government is concerned about terrorists' ongoing interest in targeting commercial aviation, including transportation hubs over the past two years, as evidenced by the 2015 airliner downing in Egypt; the 2016 attempted airliner downing in Somalia; and the 2016 armed attacks against airports in Brussels and Istanbul," the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement. "Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items." The indefinite ban affects nine airlines out of 10 airports.
The ban on all electronic devices larger than a cell phone being brought into the cabin of passenger aircraft coming from several Middle Eastern and African countries is indefinite and applies to nine airlines and 10 airports in eight countries, a source told Fox News Tuesday. Senior administration officials are calling the measure an active-emergency amendment based on "evaluated intelligence" that terrorist groups continue to target aviation and consumer items for use in an attack. However, the decision is not based on any specific intelligence or imminent threat. "Terrorist groups continue to have an interest in targeting planes," according to one senior Administration official, who briefed reporters on a teleconference call late Monday. The eight countries affected by the ban are all Muslim-majority nations.
An Etihad Airways jet is parked at JFK International Airport in New York on Tuesday. Passengers traveling to the United States from 10 airports in eight Muslim-majority countries will have to check most electronics. The ban will affect flights on Royal Jordanian, EgyptAir, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways. An Etihad Airways jet is parked at JFK International Airport in New York on Tuesday. Passengers traveling to the United States from 10 airports in eight Muslim-majority countries will have to check most electronics.