Thursday, 13 December, 2018

USA orders additional air cargo screening for flights from Mideast

USA orders additional air cargo screening for flights from Mideast USA orders additional air cargo screening for flights from Mideast
Nellie Chapman | 23 January, 2018, 06:10

The Transportation Security Administration said Monday it had ordered seven airports in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to provide advance data on US-bound air cargo to US Customs and Border Protection for vetting before the cargo is loaded.

It comes as the Trump administration has been working to increase global airport security.

The increased security protocols will primarily affect six carriers that depart with USA -bound air cargo: EgyptAir, Royal Jordanian, Qatar, Saudi, Emirates and Etihad. They are now required to comply with what is known as Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS) protocols, a typically voluntary program that requires airliners to disclose information about cargo they plan to bring to the U.S.

Growing concerns about bombs being sent in cargo aircraft were cited by the TSA as the reason of the new rules.

TSA said most of the requirements of the emergency order are already being carried out voluntarily by airlines in some countries, but didn't identify the countries.

Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Saudi Arabian Airlines did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Having been aware of the Australian incident, the TSA required in September enhanced screening of cargo from Turkey.

The tougher screening procedures follow a foiled terror plot in Australia last summer, which revealed a senior ISIS commander had shipped partially assembled components of a bomb on a commercial cargo plane from Turkey to Australia, according to Australian law enforcement. An official told the network that the extra screening comes as a result of terrorist threats toward the U.S.

In July, the United States lifted restrictions on carry-on electronic devices on planes coming from 10 airports in eight countries in the Middle East and North Africa.