The U.S. has banned laptops, tablets and other electronic devices in the cabins of flights to and from the U.S. from nine airlines operating in parts of North Africa and the Middle East.
The ban, which affects devices larger than a cellphone, including cameras, DVD players and electronic games, went into effect Tuesday morning, senior administration officials said in a conference call with reporters.
Federal officials, requesting anonymity, said ongoing threats from terrorist groups against commercial airlines and airports prompted the new rules. Officials from the Departments of Homeland Security and Transportation imposed the change, officials said in the conference call.
The rules affect passengers on direct flights to and from the U.S. from 10 airports in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
The airlines are all foreign carriers. Egypt Air, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian, Saudia and Turkish Airlines have 96 hours to implement the change, officials said.
Passengers on the roughly 50 flights per day affected by the change can put the banned devices in checked baggage.
Authorities referred to the recent downings of commercial planes by terrorists and the deadly attack at Istanbul Ataturk Airport that killed 45 people last June in justifying the electronics ban. They declined to say whether they'd uncovered new information that led to the tightened rules.
The revision supersedes Federal Aviation Administration warning that lithium batteries in many electronics posed a fire risk when stored with checked baggage in a plane's hold.
A tweet from Royal Jordanian airlines created confusion Monday when it was sent before the security measure was announced.
The company said that starting March 21, passengers could no longer bring cameras, DVD players and electronic games with their carry-on items and that such items must be checked on flights to and from New York, Chicago, Detroit and Montreal.
Cell phones and medical devices would still be permitted, Royal Jordanian said.
The tweet was later deleted.
Officials on the conference call said they had no complaint with how Royal Jordanian informed its customers of the electronics rules.
Saudia also commented on the new measure in a tweet, advising customers about which devices were banned.