US bans laptops, iPads from hand luggage – The West Australian

Confusion surrounds whether WA passengers travelling to the US with Emirates and Qatar will be impacted by a ban on electronic devices being carried in carry-on baggage.

The US government has still to clarify why it has banned electronic devices such as laptops, tablets and cameras from cabin baggage on flights to the US from some countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

The ban apparently affects flights from eight Middle eastern and North African countries and nine airlines operating out of 10 airports.

The ban was revealed in tweets from airlines and the Associated Press reported it covered all direct flights to the US from Cairo, Amman, Kuwait City, Casablanca, Doha, Riyadh, Jeddah, Istanbul, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

In a statement released this afternoon, Etihad says that its passengers are not affected.

A tweet from Royal Jordanian said instructions from “concerned US departments’’ meant that carrying any electronic or electrical device as cabin baggage was prohibited on flights to and from the US from March 21.

Mobile phones and medical devices were exempted from the ban but the airline cited laptops, tablets, cameras DVD players and electronic games as examples of items which needed to be carried in checked baggage.

Donald Trump has blasted a Federal Court judge for overturning his latest travel ban

US authorities have so far declined to comment on the move but there is speculation that it is due intelligence about a specific threat and could be related to laptop bomb detonated on Dubai-based carrier Daallo as it departed the Somali capital of Mogadishu in February, 2016.

The laptop was thought to have been rigged with a timer set to explode when the plane was at cruising altitude but a delay meant it was still at 14,000ft when it detonated and blew a hole in the fuselage.

The only casualty was the alleged bomber, who was apparently blown out of the plane, and the Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab later claimed responsibility.

Still unclear is how the US authorities assessed the safety implications of placing a big number of electronic items generally powered by lithium ion batteries in the hold.

There have been a number of instances of batteries overheating and these have been easier to detect because they have been in the cabin.


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