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Charge laptops and phones or you won’t fly, travellers warned

July 8, 2014 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59If you’re flying internationally and toting electronic devices like smartphones and laptops, be sure to charge them up before you check in.

New airport security measures requiring that are already in force at airports in Britain  and elsewhere. Stemming from requirements by the US Department of Homeland Security, the rules don’t affect most Australian travellers yet – but they soon may.

Britain’s Department for Transport (DfT) has advised passengers planning to fly to the US that airport security checkpoints will turn them away if the batteries of their electronic devices are flat. British police with submachineguns on patrol at Heathrow Airport

New DfT guidelines  confirm that any electronic device that has a flat battery will not be allowed on America-bound flights.

Officials have advised travellers to “make sure electronic devices are charged before travel”, Britain’s Independent newspaper reported. DfT warned: “If your device doesn’t switch on, you won’t be allowed to bring it onto the aircraft.”

The new restriction is in line with an announcement from US authorities that security staff may ask travellers to switch on devices to prove they still have battery power. The edict is part of increased airport and airline security in the face of a new terrorist bomb threat against aircraft.

The US Department of Homeland Security is increasing passenger screening on many flights from Europe, Africa and the Middle East to the US.

The authorities are responding to intelligence reports of increased threat from al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen. The concerns reportedly involve intelligence that al Qaeda operatives in Syria and Yemen have joined forces to develop bombs that can be smuggled onto aircraft. The two militant Islamist groups are said to be collaborating on a “new generation” of non-metallic bombs that could evade current  security measures.

The chairman of Britain’s Intelligence and Security Committee, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, wrote in the UK Sunday Telegraph at the weekend that jihadi extremists were deploying “devilish technical skill” to create ever more sophisticated devices to evade existing security measures.

Yemen-based Islamist group, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, has since 2009 made three unsuccessful attempts to bring down a US-bound airliner. A shoe bomber and an underwear bomber were used in two separate instances. Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, the group’s chief bomb maker, is still at large.

Written by : Peter Needham

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