U.S. bans laptops and tablets on flights from 10 airports

The U.S. has confirmed a ban on laptops, tablets and other large electronics on flights from 10 international airports throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

These devices can be carried in checked baggage, but they’re no longer allowed in the passenger cabin. The U.K. is set to announce a similar ban shortly.

The decision was made due to growing concerns about “terrorists’ ongoing interest in targeting commercial aviation, including transportation hubs over the past two years,” explained the Department of Homeland Security. “Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items.”

So, in the interest of safety, larger electronics are now banned on passenger flights from 10 cities. Fliers will be allowed to carry smartphones and other small electronics in the cabin, but anything larger will need to be stowed away with checked baggage.

The ban covers about 50 flights a day from some of the busiest airports in the Middle East and North Africa. The flights are operated by Royal Jordanian, Egypt Air, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways.

These are the airports affected:

  • Mohammed V International, Casablanca, Morocco
  • Ataturk Airport, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Cairo International Airport, Egypt
  • Queen Alia International, Amman, Jordan
  • King Abdulaziz International, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • King Khalid International, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Kuwait International Airport
  • Hamad International, Doha, Qatar
  • Abu Dhabi International, United Arab Emirates
  • Dubai International, United Arab Emirates

Operators were given 96 hours to start enforcing the ban from when it was announced. Those that fail to do so before this deadline could have their certificate revoked by the Federal Aviation Administration, which would prevent them from flying into the United States.

The ban has been criticized by officials in some countries, as well as aviation experts. However, BBC News reported earlier today that the U.K. is planning to follow suit with similar restrictions for flights from “eight Muslim-majority countries.”