Six of the 10 airports that faced the laptop ban have already improved their screening enough to earn their way off the ban list, Homeland Security announced Tuesday as it tries to raise the global level of explosives screening.
The quick ability of the airlines to improve security raised questions about whether the U.S. government had overreacted in March, when Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly imposed the laptop ban on 10 foreign airports with direct flights to the U.S.
Etihad Airways flights out of Abu Dhabi, Qatar Airways flights from Doha, Emirates Air from Dubai, Turkish Airways out of Istanbul, Kuwait Airways out of Kuwait City and Royal Jordanian out of Amman have all been removed from the list, meaning their passengers can once again bring laptops into the airplane cabin.
During the ban period, all passengers had to check laptops.
The ban emerged as the new Trump administration said it had learned of the continued desire by Islamic State leaders to bomb an airplane en route to the U.S. — and received intelligence that electronic devices could be altered to carry explosives that could be used.
“At the time, the threat dictated that we take immediate action,” said Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan.
Mr. Kelly had considered expanding the laptop ban — which actually applies to all electronic devices larger than a smartphone — to more foreign airports, but after an outcry from airlines and European allies, he went a different direction, announcing the need for stiffer screening at all airports with direct flights to the U.S.
He has set timetables for airports to meet his goals, and said all 10 of the airports initially targeted could earn their way off the ban list if they adopted the same screening.
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