DHS: Airline Electronics Ban Based On New Intel

Although the United States announced that they had given airlines 96 hours to inform travellers before the ban came into force at 3am on Tuesday (3pm Tuesday, Singapore time), there was confusion over when the British ban would kick in.

A spokesman for Royal Jordanian says the airline is still awaiting formal instructions from the relevant USA departments, which could possibly come later on Tuesday.

Right now, the ban will only effect certain U.S.and United Kingdom bound flights from the Mideast and North Africa, 10 airports will be impacted including those in Jordan, Kuwait City, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and two airports in the UAE.

"Passengers travelling to the countries affected may wish to consider leaving their electronic devices at home, although this may be hard for many, especially business travellers and families travelling with children".

Senior U.S. administration officials declined to elaborate on the threats that prompted the ban, saying only that commercial airlines are still a target of terrorists who are trying to smuggle explosives in electronic devices.

The federal administration made this move following intelligence gained during a raid in Yemen claiming that terrorists were attempting to smuggle bombs into the US via commercial electronics, Reuters reported.

Nine airlines are affected, including leading Persian Gulf operators Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways, as well as Turkish Airlines and Egypt Air.

The British ban includes phones which are more than 16 centimetres long, 9.3cm wide and 1.5cm deep.

US officials gave no end date for the new rules but said they would be reviewed periodically. Affected airlines were told immediately but may take a few days to implement the new security measure.

A former bomb disposal officer has told talkRADIO the Government's electronics flight ban is motivated by "what's not being done overseas".

"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 U.S. official said.

The British ban affects six British airlines, including charters - British Airways, EasyJet, Jet2.com, Monarch, Thomas Cook and Thomson.

Turkish Airlines-in which the government holds a stake of just over 49 percent-issued a statement earlier on Tuesday confirming the ban.

  • Leroy Wright