The UK will follow the US in banning laptops, tablets and other portable devices from some UK-bound flights from the Middle East and North Africa.
But the UK ban does not apply to Gulf carriers Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways or to their airport hubs in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha.
A Government spokesperson said the ban would apply to electronic devices of more than 16cm by 9.3cm and on inbound flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.
Passengers travelling from these countries will not be allowed to board a flight with devices larger than a smartphone in carry-on baggage.
The spokesperson told Sky News: “The additional security measures may cause some disruption, and we understand the frustration that will cause.”
The US Department of Homeland Security announced a ban on devices in carry-on bags on flights originating in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha, Cairo, Istanbul, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait this morning.
It said the ban was a response to the threat of terrorist groups “smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items” and said it selected the airports “based on the current threat picture”.
The ban appears open ended. However, some reports suggested the US ban would remain in place at least until October.
Abta says the immediate priority for its members needs to be updating their customers as travel insurance does not typically cover electronic items in the hold.
The association even suggested passengers leave devices at home, but warned it could be difficult for both business travellers and families with children.
In a statement, Abta said: “The immediate priority must be making sure travellers are aware of the new rules and are advised to pack their bags correctly to help minimise disruption through security and protect their items from confiscation.
“Given the very specific nature of the regulations it will be crucial to ensure that they are kept under review. While passengers may be frustrated by the rules it is important to remember that the regulations have been introduced for their safety and security.”
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