Canada might follow the U.S. and United Kingdom with flight 'laptop ban'

The Department of Homeland Security's made a decision to bar larger electronic devices from the passenger cabins of planes leaving from 10 Middle Eastern and African airports because of intelligence indicating Islamic State group associates are working to smuggle explosives onto USA -bound flights, DHS said Tuesday. "Any such devices will need to be placed into hold luggage and checked-in before going through central security".

The ban applies to any device larger than 16cm long, 9.3cm wide or 1.5cm deep.

US airlines are not affected because none of them fly from the airports in question to the United States, according to USA government officials.

USA authorities said the measure is the result of intelligence showing a risk for terrorist activity involving commercial aviation.

An Air India official said the airline only has direct flights to the United States and would not be hit by the restrictions.

"The U.K. has some of the most robust aviation security measures in the world and at all times the safety and security of the public is our primary concern".

The new rule is expected to be announced Tuesday by the Department of Homeland Security, the officials said, adding that it had been under consideration since the USA government learned of a threat several weeks ago.

And the United Kingdom has followed suit, banning the devices on flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. "We will not hesitate to put in place measures we believe are necessary, effective and proportionate". If the airline ignores the new policy, authorities will ask the Federal Aviation Administration to withdraw the airline's certificate to fly to the country.

Muslim-majority nations with United States bound flights - Queen Alia Airport, Cairo Airport, Ataturk Airport, King Abdulaziz Airport, King Khalid International Airport, Kuwait International Airport, Mohammed V International Airport, Doha Airport, Dubai Airport, and Abu Dhabi Airport - should take note of the new law.

Since US airlines do not have direct flights from the airports affected, its ban affects nine non-US airlines: EgyptAir, Emirates and Etihad Airways, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian, Qatar Airways, Saudi Airlines and Turkish Airlines.

Emirates airline President Tim Clark told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he only learned of the new USA guidelines the day before.

When contacted by AFP, British Airways, one of the airlines affected by the new measure, said it was up to the government to communicate on the issue.

  • Leroy Wright