The Trump administration has banned passengers on flights to the U.S. from eight Muslim-majority countries from carrying electronic devices, other than cellphones or medical devices, on board with them.
Government officials said that under the ban, which is due to go into effect on Saturday, individuals must pack large electronic items such as laptops, digital cameras, and tablets in their checked baggage only.
The new directive looks set to effect up to 50 arriving flights per day from Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates—all of whom are U.S. allies from the Middle East and North Africa.
Dubai-based airline Emirates, who stands to be one airline that is affected, claims that the order will be in place until mid-October.
Another airline set to be impacted by the order, Royal Jordanian Airlines, initially published instructions to its passengers before quickly deleting them.
“Following instructions from the concerned US departments, we kindly inform our dearest passengers departing to and arriving from the United States that carrying any electronic or electrical device on board the flight cabins is strictly prohibited,” the airline said in its original tweet, which it quickly replace with the following:
Further updates will be announced soon regarding #electronicsban.— Royal Jordanian (@RoyalJordanian) March 20, 2017
The administration cited “evaluated intelligence” reports that said extremist groups were seeking to target commercial aircraft in possible future terror attacks, possibly with explosives concealed in larger electronics. Officials did not provide further detail.
The enforced ban on electronics stands separate from the controversial executive order that attempted to implement a complete travel ban on six other Muslim-majority countries, although it will no doubt draw comparisons. President Donald Trump’s revised executive order had been blocked by a federal judge just hours before it was due to come into effect on this Thursday.
Update 11:40am CT, March 21: This afternoon, the U.K. government announced that it would also be implementing a cabin ban on large electrical items as part of what Downing Street called a “necessary, effective and proportionate” security measure. While the Trump administration’s directive affects eight countries, the U.K. order covers just six countries: Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.