As of the end of June, the prospect of an expanded electronics ban has been diminished. Instead, the United States will require all commercial flights into the country to comply with enhanced security measures.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly made the announcement Wednesday, June 28th at the Center for a New American Security’s annual conference. Kelly stated that security measures would be phased in over time and include, but are not limited to:
- Enhanced screening of electronic devices
- Comprehensive passenger vetting
- Adoption of sophisticated screening procedures, including
- More effective deployment of explosive detection canines
- Advanced screening technologies at checkpoints
- Advanced procedures for reducing threats from insider attacks
In addition, DHS Secretary Kelly encouraged airports to become pre-clearance locations. Not only would this enhance airport security, he stated, but it would also increase convenience for international travelers.
Timeline for Implementation of Security Measures
At the time of the announcement, there were 105 countries, 208 airports, and 180 total airlines effected by the new requirements. In the upcoming weeks, the DHS and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will work on implementation with these organizations.
Reuters reported that within twenty-one days, airlines must upgrade trace explosive detection screenings. For compliance with other airport security measures, including enhanced passenger screenings, organizations have 120 days.
Despite requiring airlines and airports to make significant investments in infrastructure, the U.S will not provide funding support.
Consequences of Non-Compliance
While aviation organizations might dislike the imposed expense, not complying could prove more costly.
For one, airlines that do not adhere to the new security measures could face a hefty fine. They might also find their flights subject to a reinstated electronics ban. Depending on the severity, some airlines might be subject to U.S airspace restrictions. The most severe potential consequence, however, is having the right to operate flights in the United States revoked.
Lifting the Electronics Ban
For airlines and airports previously impacted by the electronics ban, the announcement of new security measures provided welcome relief. The release of new U.S security measures has allowed several airlines to have electronics ban restrictions lifted:
- Etihad Airways’ flights out of Abu Dhabi International Airport
- Turkish Airlines flights out of Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul
- Emirates flights out of Dubai International Airport
- Qatar Airways flights out of Hamad International Airport in Doha (7.7.17)
- Royal Jordanian flights out of Queen Alia International Airport in Amman
- Kuwait Airways flights to New York out of Kuwait International Airport (7.9.17)
- EgyptAir flights to New York out of Cairo International Airport
- Royal Air Maroc flights out of Mohammed V International Airport (7.13.17)
- Saudia flights out of King Abdul-Aziz International Airport in Jeddah (7.17.17)
As of June 17th, all airlines impacted by the electronics ban have lifted device restrictions. As of June 20th, all airports had been cleared by DHS and had device restrictions lifted. Saudia was the final airline to receive clearance, and King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh the final airport to have the ban lifted.
We will be tracking the progress and impacts of the U.S new security measures; stay tuned.