Global Travel

UK set to follow US in devices ban on flights from West Asia

LONDON: United Kingdom is reportedly preparing to follow the US in banning passengers from taking laptops and iPads onto UK-bound flights from the Middle East.

Sources told The Sun that terror concerns would lead to the UK taking the dramatic step on routes from as many as eight countries, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Egypt, reports news.com.au.

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Confirmation from the UK Government could come as early as today, with one insider saying senior figures have been preparing the move for days.

It is as yet unclear the extent to which the UK order will mirror the Aerican ban, announced by the US Department of Homeland Security yesterday amid fears extremists are seeking “innovative methods” to bring down jets.

There are intelligence concerns that extremists are plotting to hide bombs in laptops

In the US, electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, cameras, DVD players and electronic games will only be allowed in the hold in checked baggage. Phones and medical devices are the only items to be exempt.

US officials said airlines had been given 96 hours from 7am on Tuesday to ban devices bigger than a mobile phone or smartphones from cabins.

The nine airlines affected by the US ban are Royal Jordanian, Egypt Air, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways. Royal Jordanian tweeted the move on Monday.

The ban was first revealed in statements from Royal Jordanian Airlines and the official news agency of Saudi Arabia.

Royal Jordanian said mobile phones and medical devices were excluded from the ban. Everything else, the airline said, would need to be packed in checked luggage.

US Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly phoned politicians over the weekend to brief them on aviation security issues that have prompted the impending electronics ban, according a congressional aide briefed on the discussion. The aide was not authorised to speak publicly about the issue and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

A US government official said such a ban has been considered for several weeks. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose the internal security discussions by the federal government.

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