UK Joins Electronics Ban From Select Middle East / North African Destinations, Canada Considering

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The UK Government has announced it will join the U.S. in imposing security regulations on a dozen of destinations in the Middle East and North Africa, effectively banning laptops and large electronic devices.

Meanwhile the U.S. Government has reached out to Canada where officials are presently deliberating whether to join in on this action and in what form.

The UK Electronics ban differs from the U.S. version in some aspects as it doesn’t include some countries like Qatar but a range of additional airlines including flag carrier British Airways.

You can access out article from yesterday with details of the U.S. ban here.

You can access a current BBC article here with more details about the new regulations.

The British government has announced a cabin baggage ban on laptops on direct passenger flights to the UK from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.

The ban, which also applies to tablets and DVD players, follows a similar US move affecting eight countries.

Downing Street said it followed talks on air security and was “necessary, effective and proportionate”.

US officials said bombs could be hidden in a series of devices.

The ban applies to any device larger than 16cm long, 9.3cm wide or 1.5cm deep. It includes smart phones, but most fall inside these limits.

The British Government seems a bit more transparent about this measure including clear communications and instructions.

The UK regulation however has deeper implications not only for overseas carriers but also for UK based airlines. Passengers on the following airlines can expect to be affected by the UK ban:

Six UK carriers:

  • British Airways
  • EasyJet
  • Jet2.com
  • Monarch
  • Thomas Cook
  • Thomson

Eight overseas carriers:

  • Turkish Airlines
  • Pegasus Airways
  • Atlas-Global Airlines
  • Middle East Airlines
  • Egyptair
  • Royal Jordanian
  • Tunis Air
  • Saudia

Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia are popular tourism destinations for British holidaymakers (at least until now) and henceforth the number of British citizens and carriers affected by this new rule is much higher than those of the U.S. counterparts.

The BBC article goes on:

Asked why the US ban differed from the UK, Theresa May’s spokesman said: “We have each taken our own decisions.”

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “We understand the frustration that these measures may cause and we are working with the aviation industry to minimise any impact.” …

The editor of Aviation Security International, Philip Baum, told the BBC that “encouraging people to check laptops, and other such items, into the luggage hold simply makes the challenge of screening even harder”.

That’s an understatement as security at these airports is likely going to be a complete mess. As mentioned before connecting passengers are affected by this as well even though I really don’t see how it’s going to be possible for airlines to enforce that passengers lets say from Asia check in all their electronics when continuing to the UK or US vs those going to other destinations are allowed to keep them.

Personally if I had a transfer at one of these airports I would most definitely keep my laptop and check it in once reaching my connection airport, especially if there is a long layover involved.

Meanwhile The Globe And Mail (access here) reported that Canada is also considering steps and the government is presently deliberating about the measures.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau says Canada is evaluating intelligence passed on by the United States to determine if it should require passengers travelling from some Middle East  countries to pack all large electronic devices other than mobiles in their checked baggage.

U.S. Homeland Secretary John Kelly spoke by telephone Tuesday with the Trudeau government to explain why the Trump administration has ruled that only cellphones and smartphones will be allowed in the passenger cabin of U.S. bound flights into the U.S. from 10 airports in eight Muslim-majority countries.

Mr. Garneau would not say what type of security threat the Americans are concerned about.  Nor would he give a specific time line but said Canada will “act expeditiously.”

I guess everyone can see that this doesn’t mean any good news coming from Canada either.

Conclusion

Just when you thought that after the underwear bomber, liquid bans and other stringent security measures it couldn’t get any worse they come up with this nonsense and there is no other way to describe this measure.

At some point it’s just too much, you can’t exclude every single item where explosives could possibly be hidden and with the right substance it makes zero difference about quantity and container.

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