US citizens are among the first people to be affected by the new regulations. This morning Tourism Update was asked for advice on a family that had been in the country for 10 days and was returning to the USA on Saturday via Istanbul, one of the affected airports. What do they do with their iPads, was the question the Johannesburg-based safari operator asked us.
This is the situation as it was on Thursday evening.
The new personal device travel restrictions are already being implemented in South Africa.
Although the SA Civil Aviation Authority has not issued any regulatory procedure, airlines boarding passengers last night with through tickets to destinations in the USA and UK via affected airports, were told to pack their electronic devices, except cell phones in their luggage.
Officials said that passengers should expect delays and some confusion as airlines wrestled with implementing a system imposed at short notice.
South African airports have managed to dramatically improve the rate of pilferage at SA airports and Tourism Update understands that they now have pilferage levels 40 % below the global average measured by IATA.
As there is no regulation in SA in place, check-in staff can not compel passengers on the leg out of South Africa to put electronic devices in the hold. They are warning passengers that as they will not have access to their luggage in their transit hub, that unless they stay overnight and recheck in their luggage they must expect their electronic devices to be confiscated before departing on the final leg.
Tourism Update understands that the measures were triggered when a device exploded on an aircraft in February 2016 when a passenger was handed a laptop to a passenger airside. The problem is the possibility of such collusion. Security measures for luggage routed to the cargo hold is less susceptible to this.
The affected services from SA are for USA-bound passengers via Istanbul, Cairo, Jeddah, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha. Istanbul is also one of the airports affected for UK-bound passengers.