US imposes ban on carrying computers & I-Pads on board airlines of several Muslim countries

A Monitor Desk Report 22 Mar, 2017  |    -      +
Washington, DC : Starting from Tuesday March 21 United States has barred passengers on flights originating in several Muslim-majority countries from carrying any electronic device larger than a cellphone starting on Tuesday.

The passengers of the following airlines will be affected by the ban: Egypt Air, Emirates, Ethihad, Saudia, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Moroc, Turkish Airlines and other airlines flying non stop from the Middle East to the United States of America.

This will have a lot of unhappy passengers thanks to the U.S. Government. Forget working on the internet while flying. Is this a hidden way to assist European and U.S. carriers to connect passengers from the Middle East through Europe?

The ban was revealed on Monday in statements from Royal Jordanian Airlines and the official news agency of Saudi Arabia.

According to AP a US official, on the condition of anonymity, told the news agency that the ban will apply to nonstop flights to the US from 10 international airports serving the cities of Cairo in Egypt; Amman in Jordan; Kuwait City in Kuwait; Casablanca in Morocco; Doha in Qatar; Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia; Istanbul in Turkey; and Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

The ban was indefinite, said the official.

The move comes a week after President Donald Trump’s second bid to curb travel from a group of Muslim-majority nations was blocked by the courts.

According to Royal Jordanian cellphones and medical devices were excluded from the ban. Everything else, such as laptops, tablets, e-readers, DVD players, electronic games and cameras, would need to be packed in checked luggage.

The electronics ban is going to affects flights of these airlines to a number of major cities in the USA including New York, Chicago, Detroit and Los Angles.

Brian Jenkins, an aviation-security expert at the Rand Corp., said the nature of the security measure suggested that it was driven by intelligence of a possible attack.

He added that there could be concern about inadequate passenger screening or even conspiracies involving insiders – airport or airline employees in some countries.

Trevor Jensen, an aviation consultant and former airline captain, told Al Jazeera that that keeping a large number of computers with lithium batteries in the hold also presented safety issues.

“I hope that we are not just knee-jerking here and that this is a credible threat – that the safety issues have also been very carefully thought through.”

Jensen questioned why, from a security standpoint, only several airports had been included in the measures.

“If this was a credible threat, I think they would be looking at other airports. Because, why couldn’t you fly from Doha, for example, into Zurich, and from Zurich across [to the US] … there are ways to get around it,” he said.

“Looking at some of these legs, the passengers flying on board are business people who do want to work in-flight. Security is first, but it’s got to be credible. And we’re not getting any more information to support that at the moment,” Jensen added.

Another aviation-security expert, professor Jeffrey Price of Metropolitan State University of Denver, said there was another disadvantage to having everyone put their electronics in checked baggage.

Thefts from baggage would skyrocket, as when Britain tried a similar ban in 2006, he said.


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