U.S. Lifts Electronics Ban on Flights From Middle East

By Kenrya Rankin Jul 21, 2017

On March 21, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a mandate that forced people flying into the U.S. on direct flights from 10 airports in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates to check electronic devices larger than a phone before boarding their flights.

On Wednesday (July 21), DHS spokesman David Lapan tweeted that the restriction on portable electronic devices (PED) on flights from the Middle East has been lifted.


NPR reports that all airlines that fly directly into the U.S. from international locations are now charged with implementing a new set of security measures. Lapan tweeted about that, too, writing yesterday (July 20) that, “As of midnight, all 180 airlines & 280+ LPD airports around the world have implemented 1st phase of enhanced aviation security measures.” LPD stands for “last point of departure,” which are international airports that feature flights that enter the U.S.

Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly released details on the new measures during a speech at the Center for a New American Security conference on June 28. From the published transcript of his delivered remarks:

Today, I am announcing a first step toward this goal by requiring new security measures to be applied to all commercial flights coming into the United States from abroad. These measures will be both seen and unseen, and they will be phased in over time.

They will include enhanced screening of electronic devices, more thorough passenger vetting and new measures designed to mitigate the potential threat of insider attacks.
We will also lay out a clear path to encourage airlines and airports to adopt more sophisticated screening approaches, including better use of explosive detection canines and advanced checkpoint screening technology.

Additionally, we will encourage more airports to become pre-clearance locations. This not only enhances security, it also increases convenience by allowing international travelers to go through customs and border security screening before boarding flights to the United States.

With this announcement, we send a clear message that inaction is not an option. Those 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 aircraft, or even a suspension of their flights to the United States.