USA bans large electronics on flights, affecting Middle East

01 April 2017, 01:46 | Isaac Mcdaniel

Op-Ed Electronic device ban on flights may not relate to security

Op-Ed Electronic device ban on flights may not relate to security

The move comes hours after the US enacted an emergency directive banning passengers from carrying electronic items bigger than a cellphone onboard flights from eight Middle Eastern and African countries.

The U.S. government officially notified the airlines at 3 a.m. ET Tuesday.

Fourteen carriers are expected to be affected by the ban - Turkish Airlines, Pegasus Airways, Atlas-Global Airlines, Middle East Airlines, Egyptair, Royal Jordanian, Tunis Air and Saudia.

It is thought to apply to nonstop flights to the U.S. from 10 airports in eight countries which are believed to include Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

The US Department of Homeland Security say explosives could be hidden in such devices, citing the 2015 airliner downing in Egypt, the 2016 attempted airliner downing in Somalia, and the 2016 attacks against airports in Brussels and Istanbul.

France's aviation authority said it was conducting a "risk assessment", but the government had yet to decide how to proceed. Nicholas Weaver, researcher at the International Computer Science Institute at the University of California said that the concerns simply "make no sense". Discussions have also been taking place with USA counterparts.

Following the move, Emirates has released a video to help passengers affected by the ban find something to do onboard, now that laptops and Kindles are out of the question.

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"It is applicable to all US-bound passengers from Dubai International Airport, whether originating or transiting through", she added.

The biggest impact will be felt by Emirates, which operates 119 weekly flights between Dubai and United States destinations including NY and Los Angeles. Major worldwide airlines Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways will continue to fly into the United Kingdom unaffected by the new rules.

The US ban affects eight countries - Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The airline has one flight from Egypt today and one on Saturday.

The UK ban, unlike the U.S. one, directly impacts national carriers and may cause a diplomatic ruckus for the country.

Turkish Airlines-in which the government holds a stake of just over 49 percent-issued a statement earlier on Tuesday confirming the ban. The ban includes six countries in the Middle East.

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