Laptops, tablets banned on US-bound flights
WASHINGTON: The United States warned yesterday that extremists plan to target planes with bombs hidden in electronic devices, and banned carrying them on flights from 10 airports in Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa.
Senior US officials said nine airlines from eight countries had been given 96 hours, beginning at 0700 GMT, to ban any device bigger than a cellphone or smartphone from the cabin.
Laptops, tablets and portable game consoles are affected by the ban, which applies to direct flights to the US, but they may still be stowed in the hold in checked baggage. Passengers on about 50 flights per day from some of the busiest hubs in the Middle East, Turkey and North Africa will be obliged to follow the new emergency ruling.
“The restrictions are in place due to evaluated intelligence and we think it’s the right thing to do and the right places to do it to secure the safety of the traveling public,” one US official said.
The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, refused to discuss the “intelligence information” that led the Transportation Security Administration to issue the order.
CNN quoted a US official as saying that the ban was believed to be related to a threat posed by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
“Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation and are aggressively pursuing innovative methods to undertake their attacks, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items,” an official said.
The airports affected by the ban are Queen Alia International in Amman, Jordan; Cairo International in Egypt; Ataturk in Istanbul, Turkey; King Abdulaziz International in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; King Khalid International in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Kuwait International; Mohammed V International in Casablanca, Morocco; Hamad International in Doha, Qatar; and the Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports in the United Arab
We particularly emphasise how this will not benefit the passenger and that reverse steps or a softening should be adopted.
AHMET ARSLAN Transport Minister of Turkey
The ban affects Royal Jordanian, EgyptAir, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways.
Turkey said it would ask the US to reverse the ban.
“We particularly emphasise how this will not benefit the passenger and that reverse steps or a softening should be adopted,” said Transport Minister Ahmet Arslan. AFP