x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

US lifts laptop ban on Saudi Arabian Airlines flights

Security measure waived for US-bound Saudia flights from Jeddah, while inspection of Riyadh airport will be conducted later this week 

The US ban on large electronic items in the cabin of flights from King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah was lifted on July 17, 2017. AFP / August 24, 2016
The US ban on large electronic items in the cabin of flights from King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah was lifted on July 17, 2017. AFP / August 24, 2016

The US transportation security agency on Monday lifted a ban on passengers on Saudi Arabian Airlines carrying large electronics like laptops aboard US-bound flights.

Saudia was the last airline still under the restrictions imposed by the United States in March on nine carriers, most of which were Middle Eastern.

The Transportation Security Administration said the US government had lifted the restrictions at Saudia's main hub in Jeddah at King Abdulaziz International Airport. Government officials will visit Riyadh's King Khalid International Airport "later this week to confirm compliance there as well", spokesman James Gregory said.

The US has said the ban on large electronic items in aircraft cabins was imposed to counter the threat of hidden explosives.

Last month, US officials announced new security requirements for all airlines rather than an expansion of the laptop ban and have been dropping the restrictions from airlines as they boosted security.

On Thursday, the US department of homeland security issued a revised directive to airlines around the world in response to requests that it clarify aviation security measures scheduled to begin taking effect later this week.

An airline official briefed on the matter said the directive gave airlines more flexibility and additional time to obtain explosive trace detection equipment.