Qatar Airways has said devices prohibited by the US authorities; including laptops, tablets, DVD players and electronic games will now be allowed to be carried in "checked luggage" only on its non-stop flights to the United States.
In a travel alert the national carrier said, “it has made special arrangements to assist passengers in securing their devices in the aircraft's baggage hold.”
“Effective March 21 in accordance with new United States government regulations, all passengers travelling on United States-bound flights are prohibited from carrying any electronic devices on board the flight other than cellular and smart phones and medical devices needed during the flight,” Qatar Airways said.
The Trump administration confirmed Tuesday it was imposing new restrictions on electronic devices carried by travellers coming to the United States from 10 airports mainly in the Middle East and North Africa “in response to unspecified terror threats.”
According to reports, the Department of Homeland Security order will impact passengers flying nine airlines non-stop to the US.
The Department of Homeland Security will require passengers coming to the United States from airports in Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Morocco and Qatar to check electronic devices larger than a cell phone such as tablets, portable DVD players, laptops and cameras.
The airports affected are in Amman, Cairo, Kuwait City, Doha, Dubai, Istanbul, Abu Dhabi, Casablanca, Morocco; Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Qatar Airways flies non-stop to many popular US destinations including Washington DC, New York, Chicago, Houston, Dallas and Miami.
A Reuter’s dispatch quoted unnamed officials and said the decision had nothing to do with President Donald Trump's efforts to impose a travel ban of six majority-Muslim nations. A DHS spokeswoman said the government "did not target specific nations. We relied upon evaluated intelligence to determine which airports were affected."
On March 6, Trump signed a revised executive order banning citizens from Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from traveling to the United States for 90 days. Two federal judges have halted parts of the ban, saying it discriminates against Muslims. Trump has vowed to appeal up to the Supreme Court if necessary.
It said the airlines have until Friday to comply with the new restrictions that will be in place indefinitely.
No American carriers were affected by the ban, because none fly directly to the United States from the airports, officials said. But it does apply to US citizens travelling on those flights. It does not apply to crew members on those foreign carriers.
Officials did not explain why the restrictions only apply to travellers arriving in the United States and not for those same flights when they leave the United States.
DHS will also allow passengers to use larger approved medical devices. The agency said the procedures would "remain in place until the threat changes" and did not rule out expanding to other airports if circumstances changed.
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