Airport checks on mobile phones and tablets for passengers to US
DUBAI // Passengers flying to the US will have their mobile phones or tablets confiscated and be prevented from boarding if the devices are not fully charged.
North America has issued new rules whereby staff at the boarding gates of certain airports around the world will ask passengers to switch on their phones. If the gadgets do not turn on, the owner will not be allowed on the aircraft.
“During the security examination officers may also ask that owners power up some devices, including cell phones,” said the US Transportation Security Administration in a post on its website.
“Powerless devices will not be permitted on board the aircraft. The traveller may also undergo additional screening.”
The rule comes after US officials said that Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula had worked out how to turn phones into improvised explosive devices.
The rule only applies to some international airports, but it was not clear whether Dubai or Abu Dhabi airports would be affected.
Officials from Dubai Airport and Emirates Airline declined to comment on Monday.
Chris Youlten, Etihad Airways vice president of network operations, said the airline had not been affected by any measures.
“The United States customs and border protection pre-clearance facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport has created an added layer of protection and this was predefined by the US and UAE governments as one of the reasons why this facility was introduced in the emirate.
“Enhanced security measures are consistently being introduced at airports across the world in response to improvements in the manufacture of explosive devices. Etihad Airways monitors the development of airport screening and detection measures, both electronic and human, everywhere we fly, and we remain satisfied that those measures are very effective.”
Theodore Karasik, director of research and development at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis, said it was not necessarily the case that passengers from the UAE would be screened.
“I think they are going to be looking at airports around the world because this sort of approach of setting off an explosive device with an electronic device is ubiquitous,” he said.
Updated: July 7, 2014 04:00 AM