The Trump Administration on Monday barred passengers on 13 airlines flying from the Middle East and Africa from bringing laptops, iPads, cameras and other electronic devices in carry-on luggage on some US-bound flights starting Tuesday.
Another U.S. official said the ban would affect nine airlines in total, and the Transportation Security Administration would inform the affected airlines on Tuesday.
Passengers would be allowed to carry in their checked luggage larger devices like tablets, portable DVD players, laptops and cameras. The tweet from Royal Jordanian Airlines was taken down Monday afternoon - apparently the airline jumped the gun on the announcement - but the information is correct and apparently the result of a terrorism concern.
The officials said U.S. carriers are not affected because none of them fly from the airports in question to the US.
What's the reason for the ban?
A government source told AP that such a ban had been considered for several weeks.
"Al Riyadh" newspaper, a pro-government Saudi newspaper, confirmed the ban would affect flights out of its main airports, and its civil aviation authority informed "airlines flying from (Saudi) airports to United States airports of the latest measures from U.S. security agencies in which passengers must store laptops and tablets" in checked baggage. USA security officials would not comment.
Royal Jordanian said all such devices - including laptops, tablets, cameras, DVD players and electronic games - would need to be checked in under new United States government rules coming into force on Tuesday.
The airports are in Amman, Jordan; Cairo; Kuwait City, Kuwait; Doha, Qatar; Dubai and Abu Dhabi, both in United Arab Emirates; Istanbul; Casablanca, Morocco; Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
However, a person familiar with the security warning said the government has always been concerned about the aspirations of a Syria-based terrorist group to build explosive devices hidden inside electronics in a way that would be hard to detect.
Turkish Airlines has told its passengers traveling to the US that anything bigger than a smartphone must be checked into the baggage hold.
The U.S. officials said the airplane restrictions are based on intelligence indicating that terror groups are still plotting to blow up civilian planes. The airlines then followed up with another tweet saying further updates would be announced soon. But certain medical devices will be permitted in the cabin.
A spokesman for the International Air Transport Association, which represents international carriers including Royal Jordanian, said they were not informed of the new restrictions and were working to get additional information from U.S. authorities.
The U.S.is especially concerned about the 10 airports in question, the official said, because of screening issues and the possibility of terrorists infiltrating authorized airport personnel.