On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security lifted its electronics ban on Saudi Arabian carrier Saudia and King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jiddah. Later this week, the agency expects to add King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh – the only remaining airport affected by the ban announced in March – to the approved list, after verifying its bolstered security.
The agency has now lifted the ban, which required passengers to check any gadgets larger than a mobile phone as a safety precaution, on nine of the 10 Middle Eastern and African airports affected.
Over the past few weeks, the airlines and their affiliated airports have met the agency’s criteria for enhanced security measures.
Etihad Airways was the first to invite gadgets back onboard on July 2. Dubai-based Emirates and Istanbul-based Turkish Airlines followed on July 5. The next day, Qatar Airways, which flies out of Doha, slid over to the “permitted” side of the ledger.
“Etihad Airways and Abu Dhabi International Airport; Turkish Airlines and Istanbul Ataturk Airport; Emirates Airlines and Dubai International Airport; and Qatar Airways and Hamad International Airport have implemented the required initial enhanced security measures,” said Lisa Farbstein, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration. “Travelers will now be able to bring laptops and other large electronic devices into the cabin of U.S.-bound flights.”
Next in line: Royal Jordanian and Queen Alia International Airport in Amman; EgyptAir and Cairo International Airport; Royal Air Maroc and Mohammed V International Airport in Casablanca; and Kuwait Airways and Kuwait International Airport. The agency cleared the quartet between July 9 and 13.
To prevent any slippage in vigilance, Farbstein said, TSA inspectors will “observe compliance at the location.”
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Andrea Sachs