U.S. temporarily bans electronic devices on some Middle Eastern and African flights

Several Middle Eastern and African airlines say they are temporarily banning laptops and other electronic devices on U.S. flights to comply with requests from U.S. officials.

Royal Jordanian Airlines told its passengers via Twitter that it is banning electronic devices — laptops, tablets, cameras and DVD players — for in-flight use and in carry-on bags starting Tuesday on flights to New York, Chicago, Detroit and Montreal.

The airline didn’t explain why the ban was being imposed except to say it came “following the instructions from the concerned U.S. Departments.”

Other airlines, including Saudia Airlines, Saudi Arabia’s national airline, tweeted on the subject Monday, saying the ban would last only 96 hours. But few other details were released.

“Saudia Airlines would like to point out to dear guests that the United States transportation authorities have imposed a new procedure on trips heading to the United States,” Saudia Airlines posted on Twitter.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security declined to comment on the reports, saying “we have no comment on potential security precautions but will provide an update when appropriate.”

A U.S. official told the Associated Press the ban will apply to nonstop flights to the U.S. from 10 airports in eight countries in the Middle East and North Africa but didn’t name the airports or countries or detail what security issues were prompting the ban. The official, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly on the ban, spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The Guardian newspaper reported that the ban was requested in a confidential email issued by the Transportation Security Administration on Monday. The paper said airlines from 13 nations received the email.

Cellphones and medical devices were excluded from the ban, according to Royal Jordanian. The banned items will be allowed in checked luggage.

hugo.martin@latimes.com

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