Earlier this year, the United States banned people from certain countries from flying to the U.S. with laptops and electronic devices bigger than smartphones in their carry-on luggage due to security concerns that they might be used to smuggle explosives on planes.
The ban was applied to 10 airports in eight Middle Eastern countries and North Africa.
After the ban was announced, U.S. officials stated that if the countries that were banned increase their security measures and follow the guidelines provided by the U.S. government, the bans will be lifted and passengers would be allowed to travel to the United States with their electronic devices on them.
Last month, the U.S. issued a guideline of security requirements for all airlines rather than expand the laptop ban. As airlines started following the new guidelines, the ban was gradually lifted.
Last week, Saudia, the national airline of Saudi Arabia, said it was working to implement the new security measures recommended by the Department of Homeland security and hoped to have the ban lifted before July 19.
According to the TSA, the United States government has lifted restrictions that were imposed on Saudi Arabia after officials visited the King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh to confirm their compliance with the new security measures.
On Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security issued a new directive to airlines around the world clarifying questions about the security measures that were scheduled to be implemented later in the week.
According to an airline official with knowledge of the new directive, airlines will be given more flexibility and additional time to equip themselves with explosive detection equipment. The official requested anonymity because he wasn’t allowed to speak to the media about sensitive security issues.
Saudi Arabia joins Istanbul, Jordan, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Qatar as countries that have increased their security and have had the ban lifted.
Most of the countries affected by the ban have implemented the new security measures and were successfully able to get the ban lifted. However, there are other countries that haven’t done enough to satisfy the DHS.
Morocco’s ban hasn’t been lifted because they haven’t implemented the new security measures.
On Tuesday, DHS spokesperson David Lapan said he would not discuss the security changes made by countries affected by the ban. Lapan added that every airline that has a last point of departure outside the United States will still need to put the security measures in place or risk facing a similar ban.
Lapan said if those airlines don’t make the security upgrades, they could risk having flights that are bound for the U.S. being suspended.