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Several reports have surfaced that more than 12 airline carriers operating routes from the Middle East and Africa to the U.S. have placed new restrictions on electronics in their cabins.
A now-deleted tweet from Royal Jordanian Airlines detailed new restrictions “from the concerned US departments” that have led the airline to ban electronics in the cabin, other than smartphones and medical equipment, on routes to and from U.S. cities. All of the electronics banned in the cabin, however, can be placed in checked luggage.
When asked for more details by Skift, the airline replied via Twitter that the information in the image was all it had received so far.
Queries to the Federal Aviation Administration, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) turned up nothing except a no comment from DHS: “We have no comment on potential security precautions, but will provide any update as appropriate.”
It looks like U.S. airlines are not anticipating being affected by the ban. “We don’t anticipate any changes to American-operated flights,” said an American Airlines spokesman.
A tweet from Saudi Airlines states that restrictions will begin on flights starting March 22 and ending on June 23.
CNN aviation editor Jon Ostrower quoted an unnamed government official who said the ban is intended to increase security for a short period of time, and that U.S. airlines are not affected because they offer no direct flights to the Middle Eastern and African cities in question.
Ostrower later tweeted that the threat which has led to the ban is tied to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
UPDATED: Threat to some U.S.-bound flts originates with AQAP. Concern by USG centers on screening in some countries. https://t.co/ZSwr9NiIrh
— Jon Ostrower (@jonostrower) March 20, 2017
An article from The Guardian states that the TSA sent the affected airlines a confidential email detailing the security changes. While not a new public regulation, the email represents a stipulation that airlines will need to follow.
An unnamed official told Bloomberg that the ban has been in work for weeks and that Homeland Security director John Kelly briefed lawmakers on it over the weekend.
This story will be updated with more details as they emerge.