US Finally Ends Laptop Ban Due To 'Enhanced Security Measures In Place'

You are now free to fly with your laptop onboard US-bound flights from the Middle East. The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), it seems, is satisfied with a series of recently adopted "enhanced security measures".

Photo credit: John Moore/Getty Images

The DHS announced yesterday that it has now entirely lifted the four-month ban on laptops (and other large electronics) in hand luggage flying in from specific Middle Eastern and North African airports. The ban had been lifted for three major airlines (Etihad, Emirates and Turkish Airlines) earlier this month.

David Lapan, a spokesman for the DHS, said the ban was lifted due to additional security measures that have been issued to all airlines and airports serving as last points of departure to the US around the world.

"There will be more thorough passenger vetting," Lapan told NPR. "They're going to require the airlines to acquire some more sophisticated screening equipment, better technology and even use better explosive-detecting dogs better to try to determine if there are bombs being smuggled on to flights and if there is a legitimate threat there."

Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly said at the Aspen Security Forum yesterday that top priorities for the DHS include raising global aviation security standards.

"We can actually use this crisis as a way to raise global aviation security," Kelly said. "We are raising aviation security as opposed to just going after one single threat."

The ban, which began in March, was reportedly introduced in response to threats by terrorist organisations seeking to hide explosives in consumer electronics and smuggle them onto planes. It ignited controversy, however, as it was specific to Middle-Eastern airports and airlines, making the ban reminiscent of President Trump's executive order against immigrants back in January.

King Khalid International Airport in Saudi Arabia was the last airport to be taken off the ban list. Other cities that were on the ban list include Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco.