Middle East airlines are facing another threat to their long-haul operations, with signs that USA authorities have barred flag carriers from Saudi Arabia and Jordan - along with airlines from at least 11 other countries - from allowing passengers on board with any electronic device larger than a cell phone.
According to numerous reports, U.S. authorities today alerted a number of Middle Eastern and African airlines that starting soon, their passengers will have to check any electronic items larger than a cell phone.
Unfortunately, as aviation security expert Jeffrey Price told the AP, "some laptops have batteries that can catch fire and it's easier to detect it when it's in the cabin rather than burning in the hold".
While CNN said the Department of Homeland Security had no comment, the US State Department had confirmed that relevant countries and airlines were being informed of the device ban.
JFK-based representatives of Dubai's Emirates Airline and Doha-based Qatar Airways said they had not heard of any changes.
The US Transportation Security Agency told airlines on Monday that they have 96 hours to comply with the ban, The Guardian reported. BuzzFeed News has reached out to other Middle Eastern and African airlines, and will update this article as responses come in.
Cell phones and medical devices would still be permitted, Royal Jordanian said.
Cameras, tablets and ebooks, laptop, and other electronics will have to be packed into checked luggage, said an emailed confidential Homeland Security edict to airlines.
A tweet from Royal Jordanian airlines created confusion on Monday about the previously unheard-of security measure.
Royal Jordanian didn't immediately respond to FP for immediate comment.