Britain follows United States in electronics ban on flights

22 March, 2017, 01:02 | Author: Oscar Goodwin

"I hope that we are not just knee-jerking here and that this is a credible threat - that the safety issues have also been very carefully thought through", he said.

A former Trump administration official has called it "a Muslim ban by a thousand cuts". That was despite President Donald Trump's repeated insistence that anonymous sources should not be trusted. DHS emphasizes that only 10 airports out of 250 worldwide with nonstop flights to the United States are affected.

Overall, the statement makes clear the US's view that it would be "prudent to enhance security, to include airport security procedures for passengers at certain last point of departure airports to the United States".

The list of airlines affected by the ban includes Royal Jordanian, Egypt Air, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates, and Etihad Airways.

Given that today's ban only affects flights from majority Muslim countries, it's hard not to see this new order in light of the administration's previous travel ban.

There are 19,619 flights that are scheduled on the routes covered by the ban, with the capacity to carry up to 6.75 million passengers over the next 12 months according to OAG schedule data compiled by PlaneStats.com.

But the comparison has its limits.

"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 USA official said. "This could be in retaliation for the USA carriers perceived disadvantage in the global marketplace due to the Open Skies agreement".

The officials wouldn't disclose why it was safer to have the electronics in cargo than in the cabin.

Turkey said it would ask Washington to reverse the large electronics ban after news of the new regulation broke.

CBC News has reached out to Royal Jordanian Airlines, Transport Canada and the Department of Homeland Security for clarification.

The ban - which prohibits bringing electronics like tablets, computers or cameras onto the plane - was announced early Tuesday morning.

Etihad Airways said in a statement on Tuesday that it will continue to work closely with American officials in the USA and at its base in Abu Dhabi, the Emirati capital, but for now its "policies have not changed".

The official would not go into detail about which attacks had raised fears, but did cite an incident from February of past year in which suspected Somali Islamists blew a hole in the side of Daallo Airlines passenger jet with a small device. Analysts are therefore of the view that the ban relates to some intelligence reports that indicate chances of in-air terror activities.

The administration officials who briefed reporters about the ban said foreign officials were told about the impending order starting Sunday.

US government officials speaking on the condition of anonymity said the decision reflected "evaluated intelligence". The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose the internal security discussions by the federal government.

The ban would begin just before Wednesday's meeting of the US -led coalition against the Islamic State group in Washington.

A State Department official said embassy officials spent Monday notifying relevant countries and airlines.

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