|21 March, 2017

Emirates, Etihad say not advised of new U.S. flight restrictions on electronics

New rule is in response to an unspecified terrorism threat

DUBAI, March 21 (Reuters) - Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways have not been advised of any new restrictions on carrying electronic devices on U.S. flights, the Middle East airlines said on Tuesday.

The Department of Homeland Security is expected to announce on Tuesday passengers travelling on certain U.S. bound flights will have to check electronic devices larger than a new cell phone, U.S. officials told Reuters on Monday.

The new rule is in response to an unspecified terrorism threat, the officials said.

A source said the rule would cover around eight to 10 foreign airlines. A separate government official confirmed an Associated Press report that the ban will affect 10 airports in eight countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

"At this time we have not received any notification of changes to cabin luggage restrictions on U.S. flights," an Emirates spokeswoman told Reuters in an emailed statement.

An Etihad spokesman also said the Abu Dhabi airline had not received new guidance.

Emirates is the largest Middle East carrier operating to the U.S. with daily flights to 12 destinations. Etihad flies daily to six U.S. cities.

Earlier, Reuters reported the ban would include airlines based in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, where state carriers Royal Jordanian Airlines and Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) fly to the United States.

In July 2014, the Homeland Security Department stepped up security of U.S.-bound flights, requiring tougher screening of mobile phones and other electronic devices and requiring them to be powered up before passengers could board flights to the United States.

(Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Randy Fabi) ((Alexander.Cornwell@thomsonreuters.com;))