The United Kingdom is implementing a ban on electronic devices in airplane cabins on flights from select airports, mimicking a move announced by the U.S. Tuesday.
British officials told multiple news outlets that they had the same intelligence information as the Americans, which was cited as cause for the ban. Some flights into Britain from Middle Eastern countries would be impacted: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.
“We have been in close touch with the Americans to fully understand their position,” a British government spokesperson said. “The additional security measures may cause some disruption for passengers and flights, and we understand the frustration that will cause, but our top priority will always be to maintain the safety of British nationals.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May chaired a meeting on aviation security Tuesday morning, during which the decision was made to implement the electronic ban. The government said airlines were being notified of the new rules, with both foreign and British carriers impacted.
Electronic devices larger than a cellphone, including tablets, e-readers, video game players and laptops, will not be permitted in the cabin and must be stored in checked luggage during the flight.
The American measure will impact U.S.-bound flights on nine airlines from eight countries, a difference from the British measure: Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Kuwait. Ten airports are impacted. No U.S. carrier is impacted by the American electronic ban.
“The US government is concerned about terrorists’ ongoing interest in targeting commercial aviation, including transportation hubs over the past two years, as evidenced by the 2015 airliner downing in Egypt; the 2016 attempted airliner downing in Somalia; and the 2016 armed attacks against airports in Brussels and Istanbul,” the Department of Homeland Security said. “Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items.”
The U.S. shares intelligence more closely with Britain than with any other country in the world.