Today, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Transportation Security Administration Acting Administrator Huban Gowadia instituted enhanced security measures for 10 airports that serve as last points of departure for the United States. The policy, which requires passengers to secure electronic devices larger than a cell phone in checked luggage, will apply to travelers from the following airports:
- Queen Alia International Airport (AMM)
- Cairo International Airport (CAI)
- Ataturk International Airport (IST)
- King Abdul-Aziz International Airport (JED)
- King Khalid International Airport (RUH)
- Kuwait International Airport (KWI)
- Mohammed V Airport (CMN)
- Hamad International Airport (DOH)
- Dubai International Airport (DXB)
- and Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH)
According to a new fact sheet and additional information from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, "The U.S. Government is concerned about terrorists' ongoing interest in targeting commercial aviation…" This includes groups that "are aggressively pursuing innovative methods to undertake their attacks," including smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items.
The new measures will prevent items such as laptops, tablets, e-readers, cameras, electronic games units larger than a cell phone, and others from being allowed in the cabin on flights to the U.S. from the affected airports. Necessary medical devices will still be allowed to remain in a passenger's possession after screening.
Although intelligence has prompted the new security measures, DHS notes that air travel is still safe due to "a robust security system that employs multiple layers of security, both seen and unseen" and notes that TSA "continually assesses and evaluates the current threat environment and adjusts security measures as necessary to ensure the highest levels of aviation security without unnecessary disruption to travelers."