By Thomas Dupaquier
By Thomas Dupaquier
Rabat – US imposes electronics ban on flights from several Middle Eastern and African countries, including Morocco.
On Monday, US authorities have required airlines from several Middle Eastern and African countries to prevent passengers from carrying any electronic device larger than cellphone.
This measure forbids passengers from having any laptop, Ipad, Kindle, game console or camera larger than a mobile phone in the airplane cabin. All electronic devices will have to be stored in a checked luggage. Medical devices essential to a passenger’s health are excluded from the ban.
Overall, it will affect nonstop flights to the US from at least nine airline companies (Royal Jordanian, Egypt Air, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates et Etihad Airways) flying out of ten international airports: Amman, Cairo, Istanbul, Jeddah, Riyadh, Kuwait City, Doha, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Casablanca beginning Tuesday, March 21.
However, no American carriers are impacted by the ban which is set to continue for seven months.
Officials said the ban was driven by a “security concern” due to the fear of a possible attack on commercial aviation. It ensures enhanced security measures at select airports regarding passengers boarding non-stop flights to and from the US. The US government declined to give any specific detail on the nature of the security threat. It appears to be linked is partly based on intelligence that Al-Qaida is close to being able to hide explosives in electronic devices in order to target commercial aircraft.
The news first emerged from a now deleted tweet by Royal Jordanian: “Following instructions from the concerned US departments, we kindly inform our dearest passengers departing to and arriving from the United States that carrying any electronic or electrical device on board the flight cabins is strictly prohibited.”
American authorities indicated they had warned in advance the airports and companies affected and given them 96 hours to comply. American officials have cautioned that if the measures are not enforced, the affected airlines could lose their right to fly into the United States.
This new measure is in sync with Donald Trump’s recent efforts to tighten border control as part of the new immigration policy of the United States since his arrival in office. It comes after Trump’s travel ban restricting travel from six Muslim-majority countries was blocked by a federal court in Hawaii last week, judging it to be discriminatory towards Muslims and unconstitutional.