The U.S. has hastily rolled out restrictions on electronics carried by passengers flying to the U.S. on foreign airlines from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa.
News first emerged on Monday of pending new regulations barring passengers from bringing any electronics device larger than a cell phone into the cabin on non-stop flights from the Middle East to the U.S. They were officially announced overnight, going into effect at 3.a.m. EST, with affected airlines ordered to comply within 96 hours.
No on-the-record statements have yet been made by administration officials, but the broad terms of the ban have been set out in anonymous briefings to the media. The routes affected are direct flights to the U.S. from Amman in Jordan; Cairo in Egypt; Istanbul in Turkey; Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia; Kuwait City in Kuwait; Doha in Qatar; Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates; and Casablanca in Morocco.
The airlines that fly from these airports to the U.S. are Royal Jordanian, Egypt Air, Turkish Airlines, Saudia, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways, Emirates, Etihad and Royal Air Maroc. Around 50 flights a day will be covered by the new restrictions.
It is notable that the countries affected are different from those in the travel ban that President Donald Trump tried to impose earlier this year, before U.S. courts blocked him. That was aimed at first seven, then six Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen (Iraq was on the first executive order but not included in the second version).
While the travel ban countries are largely ones with which the U.S. has poor relations, the countries caught up in the electronics ban are firm U.S. allies, and generally more prosperous, with many business travelers flying on the affected routes.
Taken together, it means that 15 countries in the wider Middle East and North Africa region have now been targeted by restrictive travel measures by the Trump administration.
According to the New York Times, the latest directive is designed to address gaps in foreign airport security but officials said it wasn’t based on any specific or credible threat of an imminent attack.
Trump Imposes New Hardships For Travel From Middle East With Electronics Ban For Region’s Airlines – Forbes