US orders extra air cargo screening for Mideast flights
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. authorities issued an emergency order today requiring additional screening of cargo on flights departing for the United States from five Mideast countries, citing a threat of terrorism.
The Transportation Security Administration order is aimed at preventing terrorist attacks in response to "persistent threats to aviation," TSA said in a statement. The countries falling under this order are Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and United Arab Emirates.
The countries were chosen because of "demonstrated intent by terrorists groups to attack aviation from them," the statement said.
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.
Airlines that TSA said are affected by the order are EgyptAir, operating out of Cairo International Airport; Royal Jordanian, operating out of Queen Alia International Airport; Saudia, operating out of King Abdul-Aziz International Airport and King Khalid International Airport; Qatar Airways, operating out of Doha International Airport; and Emirates and Etihad, operating out of Dubai International Airport and Abu Dhabi International Airport. EgyptAir, however, previously stopped accepting cargo shipments on flights to the U.S. at the request of American authorities.
Under the requirements of the order, airlines are supposed to provide certain information to U.S. customs officials on the shipments "at the earliest practical point" before loading the cargo. The shipment information is then compared to information the U.S. has on terror threats.