New electronics ban on flights from Middle East announced

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- If you are flying on a direct flight via Emirates Airlines, Qatar Airways or Turkish Airlines to Bush Airport today, you may want to pay attention.

Federal officials have just announced a new ban on large electronics coming into the U.S. from eight Middle Eastern countries.

Passengers will be banned from carrying on laptops and tablets, really any large electronic device.

Nine airlines are affected by the new ban, including:
  • Royal Jordanian
  • Egypt Air
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Saudia Arabia Airlines
  • Kuwait Airways
  • Royal Air Maroc
  • Qatar Airways
  • Emirates Airlines
  • Etihad

Three of those airlines--Emirates, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines--are expecting three flights coming into Bush Airport this afternoon, and a couple of direct flights will leave for Dubai and Qatar this evening.

Airline officials will not let you on those flights with an electronic device larger than a cell phone, unless it is for medical purposes.

Anything larger must be in a checked bag.

These are the airports where direct flights are affected:
  • Queen Alia International Airport- Jordan
  • Cairo International Airport- Egypt
  • Istanbul Atatürk Airport- Turkey
  • King Abdulaziz International Airport- Kuwait
  • Kuwait International Airport- Kuwait
  • King Khalid International Airport- Saudi Arabia
  • Mohammed V International Airport- Morocco
  • Hamad International Airport- Qatar
  • Abu Dhabi International Airport - UAE

Sources tell ABC News this is just a precaution, but it is based on new intelligence indicating new potential for smuggling explosives inside consumer products.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said there is reason to be concerned about attempts by terrorist groups trying to get around security, hence the new ban.

There is no word on how long the new ban will last. It will stay like this, Homeland Security said, until the threat changes.

Meantime, two airlines have told ABC News they are acknowledging the DHS directive. Emirates Airlines says, however, it is valid until October 14.

Turkish Airlines issued the following statement:

Due to the most recent declaration that we've received from the concerned authorities, as Turkish Airlines we kindly inform our passengers that any electronic or electrical devices larger than a cell phone or smart phone (except medical devices) must not be transported on board in our flights arriving to the US destinations. However, those passengers will be easily able to transport their mentioned devices in the baggage hold area of the aircraft.

Emirates Airlines also issued a statement, which reads:

Emirates can confirm that as per the new security directive issued by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), regarding electronic devices larger than a cell phone/smart phone, excluding medical devices, cannot be carried in the cabin of the aircraft. The directive comes into effect on 25 March 2017 and is valid until 14 October 2017. It is applicable to all US-bound passengers from Dubai International Airport, whether originating or transiting through. Emirates requests that all passengers travelling to the US pack all electronic devices larger than a cell phone/smart phone in their checked-in baggage.

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