Dubai: New Zealand has become the latest country to announce that it is considering the introduction of a laptop ban in all flights from the Middle East.
The new rules would follow similar measures introduced last month by the United States, Britain and Australia.
New Zealand’s transport minister Simon Bridges told Reuters in Dubai on Sunday that the country's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) "is assessing the evidence to determine what is appropriate".
Elaborating on the minister’s comments, Prime Minister Bill English told reporters in Wellington that it is considering restrictions on laptops and other large electronic devices on flights from some Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East.
The country’s leader on Monday said that the aviation agency was considering the issue, and would make a decision on whether to restrict large electronic items on flights from the Middle East independently of the government.
If the additional security measures are implemented, they will affect passengers flying from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and Doha, Qatar, where carriers Emirates and Qatar Airways, respectively, fly direct to New Zealand.
"A number of our security partners put those arrangements in place. With this particular proposition there's a balance between inconvenience for passengers, many of whom live off their laptop on the one hand, but on the other hand it’s making sure that the flying is safe," English said.
Security measures for passengers
Effective March 25.
The in-cabin ban does not permit any electronic device larger than a normal sized smartphone including e-readers, laptops, tablets as well as DVD players, all of which must be stowed in the hold.
The ban is in place for all flights to the US from the UAE, Kuwait, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Qatar.
IATA calculations show that this ban will impact about 350 scheduled flights a week, equivalent to about 2 per cent of total international flights to the US.
Announced March 21.
The in-cabin ban does not permit any electronic device larger than a normal sized smartphone, specifically, any device exceeding 16cm (length), 93cm (width) and 1.5cm (depth).
The ban is in place for all flights to the UK from Egypt, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan.
IATA calculations show that this ban will “impact about 393 scheduled passenger flights per week, equivalent to about 2.7 per cent of the total international scheduled passenger flights to the UK.
Effective April 6.
Passengers and luggage will be randomly screened for explosives according to the new rules imposed by Australia.
The new screening is in place for all flights to Australia from Doha, Qatar and from Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the UAE.
Emirates operates 11 flights a day to Australia while Etihad flies two daily routes to Australia.