Britain joins laptop ban on flights

British government bans laptops on direct passenger flights from several Muslim countries.

Ben Ariel,

Laptop (illustration)
Laptop (illustration)

The British government on Tuesday announced a cabin baggage ban on laptops on direct passenger flights to the UK from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia, the BBC reported.

The ban also applies to tablets and DVD players and follows a similar move announced by the United States on Monday and affecting eight countries.

The British government said its ban followed talks on air security and was "necessary, effective and proportionate".

The ban applies to any device larger than 16cm long, 9.3cm wide or 1.5cm deep. It includes smart phones, though most fall inside these limits.

Any affected device, including e-readers and games consoles, will need to be placed into hold luggage, according to the BBC.

The British ban affects six UK carriers: British Airways; EasyJet;; Monarch; Thomas Cook; and Thomson.

Eight overseas carriers are affected as well, including Turkish Airlines; Pegasus Airways; Atlas-Global Airlines; Middle East Airlines; Egyptair; Royal Jordanian; Tunis Air; and Saudia.

The American ban, announced on Monday applies to flights from 10 airports in eight countries. Nine airlines are affected - Royal Jordanian, EgyptAir, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways.

The UK ban goes even further than the U.S. move which does not affect national carriers.

It is not the result of a specific, identified terrorist plot, but of mounting concern in both American and British intelligence circles at the ongoing interest amongst jihadist groups in the Middle East in blowing up a passenger plane in mid-air.

In 2015, the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group blew up a Russian passenger plane over the Sinai Peninsula.

The jihadist group said it smuggled a bomb on board the plane in the airport of Sharm el-Sheikh, a Sinai resort popular with Russian holidaymakers, later claiming the bomb was planted inside a soda can.

In 2014, the United States announced it would not allow uncharged electronic devices onto U.S.-bound airplanes at some overseas airports, due to threats of a plot by Islamic extremists to blow up an airliner.