US lifts ban on bringing laptops onto flights coming from the Middle East
The controversial ban which disallowed laptops being carried onto incoming Middle Eastern flights to the US has been lifted by the US government, it has been reported.
The restrictions, which were implemented by President Donald Trump in March this year, meant that laptops and other large electrical devices had to be checked into baggage and couldn’t be brought into the aeroplane cabin.
It was brought in in response to unspecified threats by Middle Eastern terrorist groups and affected 10 airports in eight countries – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco.
Nine airlines were affected including Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Royal Jordanian, Kuwait Airways, EgyptAir and Royal Air Maroc—which are the only carriers to fly direct to the United States from the region.
According to reports, the ban was lifted as enhanced security measures are now in place including more sniffer dogs, explosive trace detection, swapping of luggage for chemical traces and physical inspection of electronics.
Department of Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan said that all airports and airlines with flights to America had all implemented the first phase of the new security protocols announced by US authorities on June 28.
Speaking to US online news outlet NPR, he added: “There will be more thorough passenger vetting. They’re going to require the airlines to acquire some more sophisticated screening equipment, better technology and even use better explosive-detecting dogs better to try to determine if there are bombs being smuggled on to flights and if there is a legitimate threat there.”