UK Further Eases In-cabin Laptop Ban

 - August 30, 2018, 2:05 PM

The British government on Thursday said it had lifted a ban on carrying laptops and other large electronic devices such as tablets and large mobile phones in the aircraft cabin on all UK-bound flights from Cairo airport, making it the fourth Egyptian airport exempted from the UK’s electronics ban.

In March 2017, London banned laptops and other large electronic devices on UK-bound flights from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia as a precaution against a potential terrorism threat. The new rules applied to all flights from those countries to the UK, regardless of whether British or foreign carriers operated them.

Egypt joins Tunisia as the only countries where the in-cabin electronics restrictions no longer apply in any of their airports, the UK Department for Transport noted.

The UK stood as the only European country to follow the U.S., which had issued a similar in-cabin electronics ban covering a different range of airports and airlines. The U.S. electronics ban applied to U.S.-bound flights from 10 airports served by airlines of eight Middle Eastern and North African countries: Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and Turkey.  

While the U.S. had lifted all restrictions on carrying large PEDs in cabins by July 19 last year, the UK moved much more slowly to remove the ban. Passengers on flights heading to the UK from Antalya, Bodrum, Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen International, and Izmir in Turkey; Cairo, Hurghada, Luxor, and Marsa Alam in Egypt; and Tunis-Carthage International in Tunisia may now carry the devices in their hand luggage.

Restrictions remain in place on certain UK-bound flights from Istanbul Atatürk and Dalaman airport in Turkey, Jeddah, and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, Amman in Jordan, and Beirut in Lebanon.

“The vast majority of carriers operating out of these airports are no longer subject to these restrictions. Some airlines have decided to maintain the ban for operational reasons. This does not reflect the security standards at these airports, but is an operational decision by individual carriers,” the Department of Transport said. It added that it will update its guidance “on an airport-by-airport basis, once restrictions have been lifted on all affected airlines serving the airport in question.”