A new electronic gadget ban is likely to inconvenience thousands of expats flying from Africa and the Middle East to Britain and the USA.
In almost simultaneous announcements, both countries have issued a ban on all electronic gadgets carried onto commercial jets as hand luggage.
The ban is yet to be confirmed in detail by either government, but seems to be a response to terrorist attacks against airliners and airports in Egypt, Turkey and Belgium.
In the most recent, a terrorist concealed explosives in a laptop that were detonated after an aircraft took off in Somalia.
Fortunately, the plane was low enough for the pilot to make a controlled landing despite the bomb blowing a hole in the side of the aircraft.
The Department of Homeland Security says the ban is aimed at thwarting terrorists seeking to bring down jets after ‘evaluated intelligence’ after investigating the recent incidents.
“Intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items,” said the spokesman.
The US ban involves around 50 flights a day to the States from airports in North Africa and the Middle East.
The airlines covered by the ban are: Royal Jordanian, Egypt Air, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways.
Turkish officials have protested about the ban, which covers DVD players, games consoles, laptops, tablets, cameras and other handheld electronic devices. Smartphones are exempt.
Connecting flights affected
Details of the British ban are awaited, but are expected to co-ordinate with the US restrictions.
A spokesman for Etihad, the Abu Dhabi airline, confirmed the ban.
“This impacts all passengers of all nationalities, including those arriving from overseas and connecting to a flight covered by the rules. These passengers would need to make sure their technology is stowed in the hold on the flight landing in Abu Dhabi,” he said.
The electronic gadget ban is in addition to President Donald Trump’s bid to stop travellers from several mainly Muslim countries from entering the US.
The controversial ruling has sparked civil unrest and legal challenges forcing Trump to rewrite his executive order.