by Mark Albert
WASHINGTON (TVR) – Four months after it began, the Trump administration’s controversial electronics ban has now been lifted worldwide, the Department of Homeland Security has confirmed to The Voyage Report, soon to be replaced by new explosive detection screening for large electronic devices on flights bound for the United States.
On Wednesday, Saudia Airlines, the last carrier affected by the electronics ban, announced on Twitter and on its website that King Abdul-Aziz International Airport (JED) and King Khalid International Airport (RUH) “have completed inspection and clearance has been granted by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to permit portable electronic devices (PEDs) on board flights to the United States.”
Saudia, which flies to three airports in the United States—New York’s JFK, Washington’s IAD, and Los Angeles’ LAX—said “portable electronic devices may now be carried onboard and accessed throughout the flight.”
DHS confirmed to TVR the lifting of the ban on those flights and that “all affected airlines and airports” under the original electronics ban have now had those restrictions lifted.
The ban initially applied to 10 airports in eight countries and barred any electronic devices larger than a smartphone, including laptops, tablets, e-readers, and video game players, from the cabin of U.S.-bound flights.
The Department of Homeland Security had cited “evaluated intelligence” for the move.
New Electronics Screening Begins
The lifting of the ban comes after the U.S. demanded new security procedures on all flights headed to America, including explosives detection screening on those same large electronic devices.
The Trump administration has issued an ultimatum that if airports don’t comply, electronics ban restrictions could be added to their U.S.-bound flights.
“It is time to raise the global baseline of aviation security,” Secretary Kelly said in remarks last month announcing the new aviation requirements, which also include greater passenger screening, information sharing, and aircraft security.
The new security measures, which went into effect on some flights Wednesday, will cover about 2,100 flights a day into the United States, or about 118 million passengers a year, according to DHS estimates.
“We cannot play international whack-a-mole with each new threat. Instead, we must put in place new measures across the board to keep the traveling public safe and make it harder for terrorists to succeed,” Kelly had said.
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Kelly also warned that “inaction is not an option.”
If airports do not comply with the new security directive, Kelly vowed DHS may extend the original electronics ban to flights from their locations, greatly affecting travel.
“Those [airports] who choose not to cooperate or are slow to adopt these measures could be subject to other restrictions—including a ban on electronic devices on their airplanes, or even a suspension of their flights to the United States,” said Kelly.
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