Airport anti-terror checks on electronic gadgets are expected to apply beyond passengers travelling from the UK to the US and could soon cover other destinations around the world.
Tests on mobile phones, laptops and tablets had initially been the result of a US security request to Britain. But they will reportedly be rolled out on hundreds more flights to and from the Middle East as well as parts of Africa and Asia.
Neither airlines nor transport officials will disclose which routes are included, The Daily Mail reported, meaning that every passenger arriving at British airports should assume their electronic gadgets will be checked and that their batteries are charged to allow the checks to happen.
Official advice to travellers from the Department for Transport had previously been limited to those “flying to the USA”. It now affects those “flying to and from the UK”, and states: “Make sure your electronic devices are charged before you travel. If your device doesn’t switch on, you won’t be allowed to bring it on to the aircraft.”
Video: New airport security measures
Electronic devices in checked luggage will continue to be scanned as normal. Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin told The Mail that “passengers may notice additional security measures on some routes both to and from the UK”.
Changes were announced on Monday Washington Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson ordered enhanced security at foreign airports from where aircraft fly directly to the US.
Washington officials reportedly said the move was the result of intelligence that al Qaida's chief bomb maker, Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, who is thought to be based in Yemen, had linked up with jihadists in Syria to pass on his skills
A DfT spokesman said: “In line with the US advice, passengers on some routes into and out of the UK may now also be required to show that electronic devices in their hand luggage are powered up or face not being allowed to bring the device onto the aircraft.”