All passengers on Middle Eastern airlines will now be allowed to keep their electronics with them. The US Department of Homeland Security issued a new revised directive to airlines lifting the cabin ban, as well as giving airlines more time to improve security measures.
The ban was originally lifted in stages as airlines upgraded their security measures. It’s still not clear what improvements need to be made, but reports imply that Middle Eastern airports are expected to install new explosive detecting equipment. Technical adjustments were also supposedly expected.
While the US ban has been lifted, a second laptop ban from the UK is still in place. Little information has been released from the British government since implementing its own ban in March, but it would appear that it is still looking into the matter.
The US imposed ban was originally in response to an intelligence report claiming that terrorists were weaponising laptop batteries. These high capacity batteries contain a large amount of energy and could potentially be used to start fires or create an explosion in mid-air.
No incidents of weaponised lithium-ion batteries have been reported yet, and it’s still unclear if the intelligence was accurate. Despite this, western security personnel have been on high alert.
Some airlines are unhappy about having to introduce security protocols and have complained to the US about the matter. However, the response from the government was that this is a necessary step to avoid expanding the laptop ban to all available airlines.