Airline laptop ban comes into affect

The ban targets passengers on flights out six countries heading to the UK and eight countries bound for the US

Passengers flying to the UK and US from a number of Muslim-majority countries have been banned from bringing laptops, tablet computers and larger electronic devices in their carry-on luggage from today.

The ban targets flights out six countries heading to the UK and eight countries bound for the US.

Direct flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia to the UK are affected – while in the US, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates have also been included.

The restrictions mean all devices larger than 16cm in length, 9.3cm in width or 1.5cm in depth will have to go in the hold.

The ban is reportedly in response to an increased risk that the larger devices could contain explosives.

Earlier this week a spokesperson for the British Prime Minister said the security of the travelling public is of the “highest priority” adding that the UK government views the measures as “necessary, effective and proportionate.”

Security experts have questioned why the ban has not been introduced across the board if there is a credible threat – with many suggesting the chosen countries are being unfairly targeted.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has urged the US and UK to lift the bans as soon as possible.

The United Arab Emirates - one of the world's top aviation hubs - has expressed surprise at the ban, because it believes its aviation sector and airports had proven themselves safe.

"The UAE is the number one ranked country worldwide by the International Civil Aviation Organization regarding the UAE's compliance with international security and safety standards," said Sultan bin Saeed al-Mansouri, the country’s minister of economy and chairman of the General Civil Aviation Authority.

However UAE authorities have pledged to cooperate with US authorities.

The restrictions have prompted speculation that the move is an attempt by the Trump administration to protect US airlines by stifling the growth of the Gulf carriers and Turkish Airlines - a theory dismissed by US officials.

European security experts are due to meet in Brussels next week to assess the restrictions.

It is understood the British government did not consult the European commission before announcing its decision and the commission has called for more information on the intelligence behind the move.