March 21 (UPI) -- Passengers traveling from airports in eight Middle Eastern and North African countries will no longer be allowed to carry electronics larger than cellphones onto foreign carriers, U.S. officials announced.
The Trump administration's new flight restriction, which was announced Monday and will be enforced beginning Tuesday afternoon has no end date. It involves all foreign airlines flying to the United States from Amman, Jordan; Cairo; Istanbul; Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Kuwait City; Casablanca, Morocco; Doha, Qatar; and Dubai and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. U.S. airlines are not affected by the new policy.
The affected airlines include Royal Jordanian, Egypt Air, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways.
Officials said the limitations are designed to address gaps in foreign airport security and are not based on any specific threat of attack. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said passengers with laptop computers, tablet computers, cameras and game devices larger than a cellphone are affected. At a briefing Monday, Homeland Security officials said the change is based on intelligence reports regarding extremist groups with an interest in disrupting U.S. aviation, although no groups were identified.
Electronic devices will be allowed on board as checked luggage, but not as passengers' carry-ons.
A State Department official said that embassies of affected countries, as well as affected airlines, have been notified.Officials said about 50 daily flights to the United States will be impacted by the directive.
Several airlines said Tuesday they have received the new directives. Emirates Airways, a major carrier based in the United Arab Emirates, said it had not yet received the order but intends to comply. The Turkish government called the ban wrong, adding that it should be reversed.
Later Tuesday, it was announced that Britain will administer a similar ban.