Published on : Friday, May 19, 2017
In March, the Department of Homeland Security stated a ban on electronic devices in hand luggage on flights from eight countries in North Africa and the Middle East. Passengers flying from Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar and the UAE cannot carry any electronics bigger than a mobile phone. Immediately after these countries, America declared the same rule for the UK flights except that Morocco, Qatar and the UAE were subtracted from the list and Lebanon was added.
It is said that the US Homeland Security Secretary, John Kelly and Donald Trump are concerned about the terrorist cells.
Adding to the oddity of the prohibition, Emirates passengers to the US who travel on one of the flights that touches down en route in Milan or Athens are not affected by the ban.
However, European aviation safety officials were alarmed by this step. The British Airline Pilots’ Association said the US plan was potentially “catastrophic”. In fact, fire caused by lithium batteries has been implicated in downing two cargo planes.
According to the experts, the ban would have placed immense pressure on Heathrow particularly along with the other European airports as it is expected to be the busiest summer ever.
The council meet in Brussels lifted the ban for now and agreed not to impose a blanket ban. Further talks are to take place next week in Washington DC. Europe will try to conciliate American concerns by imposing closer scrutiny at the gates of US-bound flights. Following the result of the agreement, there will be further deals on the necessity for the US and UK bans on electronics flying in from specific countries.