No new threat led to airline laptop limits, officials say

  • FILE - This is a July 29, 2002 file photo of a laptop is used on a plane . Britain's government Tuesday March 21, 2017 banned electronic devices in the carry-on bags of passengers traveling to the U.K. from six countries, following closely on a similar ban imposed by the United States. (Chris Ison/PA, File via AP) Chris Ison

  • FILE - This May 8, 2014 file photo shows Emirates passenger planes at Dubai airport in United Arab Emirates. The U.S. government is temporarily barring passengers on certain flights originating in eight other countries from bringing most types of electronics in their carry-on luggage. A U.S. official tells The Associated Press that the ban beginning Tuesday, March 21, 2017, affects airports in 10 cities of Cairo in Egypt; Amman in Jordan; Kuwait City in Kuwait; Casablanca in Morocco; Doha in Qatar; Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia; Istanbul in Turkey; and Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File) Kamran Jebreili

  • Airport staff gather near a security checkpoint at Cairo International Airport on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. The U.S. and British governments, citing unspecified threats, are barring passengers on some international flights from mostly Middle Eastern and North African countries from bringing laptops, tablets, electronic games and other devices on board in carry-on bags. (AP Photo)

Associated Press
Published: 3/21/2017 6:28:40 PM

U.S. and British officials said Tuesday the decision to bar laptops and tablets from the cabins of some international flights wasn’t based on any specific threat but on longstanding concerns about terrorists targeting jetliners.

Unimpressed, some travelers and civil liberties groups denounced the ban, raising concerns that included lost worktime on long flights and worries that checking laptops in baggage will make them more vulnerable to theft.

Under the new bans, electronic devices larger than smartphones, such as laptops, tablets and gaming devices, will have to be checked on some international flights. American officials announced the U.S. ban early Tuesday, and the British followed later in the day after discussions between the countries.

The U.S. ban affects about 50 flights a day, all on foreign carriers. Senior Trump administration officials who briefed reporters about the ban said no U.S.-based airlines have nonstop flights from those cities to the U.S.

The British security rules will apply to flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.

A U.S. government official said the ban was not prompted by any new or specific threat uncovered in recent days, but rather was based on awareness of continuing terrorist desires to target commercial aircraft. Terrorists are aggressively pursuing new methods to conduct attacks, including smuggling explosives in consumer items, the official said.




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