Laptop ban to affect passengers on flights to Scotland

Passengers on 12 Scottish air routes are among those affected by ministers banning laptops and tablets on flights from six Middle Eastern and north African countries.

Tuesday, 21st March 2017, 6:27 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:21 am
Device restrictions will be put in place on flights from Egypt, Jordan and Turkey to Scotland. Picture: Contributed

Devices larger than 16cm by 9.3cm by 1.5cm - the size of a large smartphone - can no longer be carried on board aircraft inbound from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.

They will have to be stowed in checked-in hold luggage.

Smaller devices will still be permitted on board.

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The restriction is expected to take several days to be implemented.

The move was ordered by Prime Minister Theresa May in the latest of a series of meetings on aviation security.

It follows a similar measure announced earlier yesterday by the US authorities, affecting inbound flights originating in eight mainly Muslim countries.

Mrs May’s official spokesman declined to discuss whether the new rules were prompted by specific intelligence, while the US government cited unspecified “threats”.

The Scottish routes affected include from Antalya, Bodrum, Dalaman and Istanbul in Turkey to Edinburgh and/or Glasgow, and from Hurgada and Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt to Glasgow from November.

These flights are operated by EasyJet, Jet2, Thomas Cook, Thomson and Turkish Airlines.

Thomas Cook is also scheduled to fly cruise passengers home to Glasgow from Aqaba in Jordan on Monday.

The ban could make Turkish Airlines seem a less attractive option for some long-haul passengers travelling to Scotland via its Istanbul hub from Asia and beyond.

Three rival airlines which operate to Scotland via hubs in the Gulf states are not affected.

Aviation consultant John Strickland predicted the ban would cause “headaches for airlines and customers”, but said carriers have “no choice but to put security first” when official advice is given.

He said: “One unexpected consequence will be the challenge of additional devices with lithium batteries being stowed in the holds which brings its own challenges to safety.”

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “We understand the frustration that these measures may cause and we are working with the aviation industry to minimise any impact.”

The tightening of security comes just weeks after it was revealed that UK security services have foiled 13 potential attacks in less than four years, while counter-terrorism units are running more than 500 investigations at any time.