US And Britain To Ban Electronics In Flights

This ban will apply to devices that are larger than 16cm in length, 9.3cm in width, or 1.5cm in depth.

"USA officials reported that intelligence indicates terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation" by smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items. Larger electronic items will have to be put into checked baggage as a precaution against the use of explosives on planes.

Passengers flying directly to Britain from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Turkey will be required to place those devices and large phones into hold luggage, a government spokesman said.

Canadian and French officials are considering imposing the same sort of measures, but Germany, Australia and New Zealand said they were not now mulling a ban. Now it seems that over in the United Kingdom, the government is also instituting a similar ban on larger electronic devices that can be brought on board.

The move follows a USA ban on all large electronics in hand-luggage on flights from eight countries in north Africa, the Middle East and Turkey.

In the U.S., the airports covered by the restrictions are in Cairo; Istanbul; Kuwait City; Doha, Qatar; Casablanca, Morocco; Amman, Jordan; Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; and Dubai and Abu Dhabi in United Arab Emirates.

Senior US officials told reporters that nine airlines from eight countries had been given 96 hours to ban devices bigger than a mobile phone from the cabin. "The restrictions are in place due to evaluated intelligence and we think it's the right thing to do and the right places to do it to secure the safety of the traveling public", one USA official said, according to AFP.

A USA government source said that while the restrictions arose from multiple reports of security threats, some very recent intelligence had arrived which helped to trigger the timing of the current alert. He added that there could be concern about inadequate passenger screening or even conspiracies involving insiders - airport or airline employees - in some countries.

Garneau said he would discuss this latest possible threat to airlines with Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and "we'll make that public when we make a decision".

Bennet Waters, principal at the Chertoff Group, a Washington consulting firm, and a former senior official at the Homeland Security Department, said Tuesday that threats to commercial aircraft have been evolving since before the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said that while the government hopes the measure is temporary, it will "keep it in place for as long as necessary".

Details of the ban were first disclosed by Royal Jordanian and the official news agency of Saudi Arabia.

Some potentially affected said the ban was unfair.

British Airways, EasyJet, Jet2, Monarch, Thomas Cook and Thomson - and eight foreign carriers are affected. It was unclear whether their travel plans were related to any increased worry about security threats.

U.S. lawmakers said they had been briefed over the weekend on the classified intelligence behind the ban, and the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said he backed it. Waters said screening of checked bags is often more intensive.

  • Zachary Reyes