New safety rules include UK flights

Crackdown on electronic gadgets in hand luggage spreads to include some British airports as well as US ones

All flights to Britain stop at a range of airports but passengers in transit are not usually rescreened. Photo / File
All flights to Britain stop at a range of airports but passengers in transit are not usually rescreened. Photo / File

Passengers flying to and from British airports, and not just those on United States-bound flights, must ensure their electronic devices are charged.

Although New Zealand authorities have not been asked to implement the tough new safety measures, the Aviation Security Service said it was prepared to step up checks.

'We've got contingency plans for a whole lot of things," said Avsec spokesman Mike Richards.

"If there's any increased security we have mandated reserves in place to do it."

Advice issued at the weekend concerned passengers flying to the US, but yesterday the British Department for Transport widened the instruction to affect flights to and from Britain.

A spokesman for the department 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 on to the aircraft.

"Passengers ... are therefore advised to make sure electronic devices being carried in their hand luggage are charged before they travel."

No specific routes have been highlighted, and the spokesman said they hope to "minimise disruption as far as possible".

New Zealand is regarded as a low-risk aviation security environment and Mr Richards said it was possible any directive would take 24 hours to filter through.

Although all flights to Britain stop over at a range of airports, there is typically no rescreening of passengers who have have been confined to transit lounges.

This is where checks at departure from New Zealand airports could be required if this country is included in the new British requirements.

New restrictions requiring all electronic devices, including cellphones and tablets, to be charged so they can be switched on for security staff were announced by US authorities on Sunday. The heightened security comes amid reports two terror networks are working together on a bomb that could evade existing measures.

- PA, staff reporter


Q&A: Checking electronic devices

Why are passengers being asked to show their gadgets can be switched on? The fear is that if a device cannot be switched on, it is because the battery has been swapped with explosives. Britain's Department for Transport advises: "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."

Devices include cellphones, tablets, e-readers, laptops and cameras. Why have the checks been broadened? US security forces are concerned about a new wave of Islamist extremists plotting to bring bombs on to passenger planes, as in the 2009 underwear bomb plot.

What happens if my battery runs flat just before I board? Bring a charger. Some airlines say they will have plugs and spare battery leads — but demand may be high. Gadgets bought at airport shops in Britain will not be exempt from the new checks — if they cannot be switched on, they cannot be taken on board. Devices placed in checked luggage are not excluded, either.

- Daily Mail

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