United States orders additional air cargo screening for flights from Mideast

Elias Hubbard
January 23, 2018

Five predominantly Muslim countries with planes headed to the United States will have to implement stricter air cargo scrutiny over terror concerns, US officials said Monday.

The agency will apply stricter screening rules for six airline carriers moving cargo to the US from Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

The five countries were chosen because of a "demonstrated intent by terrorist groups to attack aviation from them", according to TSA.

"The continued threat to commercial aviation calls for enhanced screening and security to protect worldwide air travel direct to the United States", TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in the emergency order.

Six airlines - EgyptAir, Royal Jordanian, Qatar, Saudi, Emirates and Etihad - serving the USA from seven airports are now required to comply with Air Cargo Advance Screening protocols.

The Air Cargo Advance Screening program began as a pilot during the Obama administration, and has been voluntary except for requirements placed on Turkey last September.

That plot caused the TSA in September to issue stricter screening rules for cargo traveling to the US from Turkey.

The agency said most of the requirements of the emergency order are already being carried out voluntarily by airlines in some countries.

Seven airports are also affected: Egypt's Cairo International Airport, Jordan's Queen Alia International Airport, Saudi Arabia's King Abdul-Aziz International Airport and King Khalid International Airport, Qatar's Doha International Airport, and the Dubai International Airport and Abu Dhabi International Airport in the United Arab Emirates. But with a growing concern about terrorists sneaking a bomb onto a plane, the TSA administrator ordered these airlines to provide additional detailed information about all cargo headed to America.

"This is all intel driven", a Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) official told CBS about a sudden change in the rules for cargo shipments from five Muslim countries.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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