The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has lifted a ban on laptops and other portable electronic devices in the cabins of flights from certain airports in the Middle East, based on new DHS-specified security measures being adopted by the airlines and airports involved. The new measures have not been detailed by DHS for security reasons, but focus on enhanced passenger screening, including more screening of electronic devices and increased use of canine detection.
The DHS had banned laptops and other devices larger than a mobile phone from the cabins of US-bound flights from 10 airports in 8 countries in the Middle East and Africa in March 2017. The action was taken after intelligence revealed terrorists were developing an explosive that could be hidden in portable electronic devices. The DHS subsequently indicated that the ban might be expanded to all flights from Europe, and later that it might be applied to all international flights to and from the US.
Instead, DHS announced on June 28 that it will allow the use of such devices in passenger cabins of flights to the US if additional security measures have been implemented by the airlines and airports involved. The agency also indicated that the 10 airports subject to the initial ban could have the ban lifted if the new security measures were implemented. The requirement for the new measures takes effect later this month and applies to all commercial flights to the US from the 280 airports around the world that serve as points of last departure to the US. Airports that fail to meet the new requirements could still face restrictions on in-cabin electronic devices.
Most of the airlines and airports affected by the initial ban moved quickly to implement the new security measures and request a lifting of the ban for their flights. Since July 2, DHS has lifted the ban on Etihad Airways flights from Abu Dhabi, UAE, Emirates flights from Dubai, UAE; Turkish Airlines flights from Istanbul; Qatar Airways flights from Doha; Royal Jordanian Airlines flights from Amman; and Kuwait Airlines flights from Kuwait based on DHS being satisfied that the new security measures have been implemented. Saudia (Saudi Arabian Airlines) has communicated to its customers that it expects to have the ban lifted on its flights to the US from Riyadh and Jeddah later this month, and Royal Air Maroc has indicated the same to its customers regarding flights to the US from Casablanca.
The Wicks Group has extensive experience advising on DHS aviation security requirements and assisting foreign air carriers with US regulatory compliance. For more information regarding The Wicks Group foreign air carrier and aviation security services, contact Glenn Wicks at email@example.com.