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Egypt dismisses media reports of new ban on US-bound cargo from Cairo Int'l Airport

Ahram Online , Monday 22 Jan 2018
Cairo Intl Airport
File Photo: A passenger walks to his gate at Cairo International Airport, Egypt October 30, 2016 (Photo: Reuters)
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The Egyptian civil aviation ministry on Monday evening dismissed media reports of a newly-imposed US ban on all cargo shipments from Cairo International Airport, calling the news "old and inaccurate" and clarifying that such a ban "has been in force since December 2015."

The spokesman for Egypt's aviation ministry, Bassem Abdel-Karim, said in an official statement that the ban includes five countries’ airports, including Egypt, though does not apply universally to all forms of cargo.

“There is a positive cooperation with the American authorities and Egypt to take part in a program that provides information on shipments to prepare for lifting the ban permanently,” he added.

Earlier, Reuters reported that the US “had banned the transport of all cargo from Cairo International Airport destined for the United States due to lack of confidence in security measures at Cairo airport."

The Reuters report cited unnamed sources from the airport and from the country's flagship airline EgyptAir.

However, the US' Transportation Security Administration (TSA) told CBS News on Monday that all cargo being loaded onto flights at last point of departure airports in five predominately Muslim countries — Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates — will be subject to new requirements.

The requirements include the American authorities’ request of specific additional information in advance of cargo being loaded onto US-bound flights.

The emergency order stipulates that the US's TSA and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are provided with information as to a parcel's place of origin, sender, record and means of travel, destination and contents.

Six airlines serving the US — EgyptAir, Royal Jordanian, Qatar Airways, Saudia, Emirates and Etihad Airways — from seven airports are now required to comply with "Air Cargo Advance Screening" (ACAS) protocols.

ACAS is typically a voluntary program that provides the TSA and CBP with advanced information about all cargo which those carriers plan to bring to the United States.

Airports subject to the order include Cairo International Airport in Egypt, Queen Alia International Airport in Jordan, King Abdul-Aziz International Airport and King Khalid International Airport in Saudi Arabia, Doha International Airport in Qatar, and Dubai International Airport and Abu Dhabi International Airport in the UAE.

Last July, the United States lifted a four-month ban on carrying electronic devices larger than mobile phones in the cabin of flights from 10 Middle Eastern airports.

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