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Monday, 29 May 2017

Egypt to comply with US ban on laptops in cabins starting Friday

Hadeer El-Mahdawy , Tuesday 21 Mar 2017
Cairo International Airport
Cairo International Airport (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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Egyptian authorities will apply a coming American ban on electronic devices in carry-on baggage on flights from Cairo to the US starting on Friday, sources at Cairo airport told Ahram Online.

The US government announced on Tuesday that it would impose the restrictions on flights originating from eight Middle Eastern countries including Egypt, beginning within 96 hours.

Under the new restrictions laptops, tablets, cameras and other devices cannot be transported in hand luggage and must be checked into the hold. Mobile phones are excluded from the ban.

In a statement, Egypt Air said that it would apply the ban on passengers travelling to the US starting from Friday.

Passengers must not "take their laptops, cameras, tablets, e-readers, portable DVD players, electronic games units, travel printers, and scanners on board airplanes, and instead must put them in their luggage, upon the instructions of the American transportation department," read the statement.

A flight from Cairo to New York on Tuesday morning did not apply the new requirements, a source at the airport told Ahram Online, given the grace period of 96 hours to implement the new meaures.

Airport authorities will be responsible for ensuring that airlines are complying with the new regulations.

According to the Associated Press, the ban will apply to nonstop flights to the US from 10 international airports serving the 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.

An aviation-security expert in the US told the Associated Press that the nature of the security measure suggested that it was driven by intelligence of a possible terrorist attack.

He added that there could be concern about inadequate passenger screening or even conspiracies involving insiders — airport or airline employees — in some countries.

Most major airports in the United States have a computer tomography or CT scanner for checked baggage, which creates a detailed picture of a bag's contents. They can warn an operator of potentially dangerous material, and may provide better security than the X-ray machines used to screen passengers and their carry-on bags. All checked baggage must be screened for explosives.

Egypt has faced increased concern about the security of its airport procedures since the deadly crash of a Russian passenger plane in 2015 which took off from Sharm El-Sheikh airport. Local IS militants claimed to have placed a bomb on board the plane.

Egypt has since implemented a raft of new security procedures and inspection equipment both at Sharm El-Sheikh and other Egyptian airports.
 

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