The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) instituted new protocols for shipping air cargo through a number of Middle Eastern airports to or through the U.S., reported WTOP.
The new measures, effective immediately, are in response to the discovery of a plot over the summer to ship military-grade explosives from Turkey to Abu Dhabi via Etihad Airways. The explosives ended up in Sydney, Australia in what was called “one of the most sophisticated plots that has ever been attempted,” according to Michael Phelan, the Australian police deputy commissioner for national security.
The airports affected are located in the UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The new protocols require air cargo carriers from the last point-of-departure airports in these countries to submit details about each piece of cargo including the originating address, identity of sender, intended destination, contents of the cargo and details about where it was en route to the airport.
This information must be submitted well ahead of loading. At present, “We don’t know what is in a cargo package until it gets to the airport and is loaded on a palette,” said a TSA official.
Ten months ago, the Department of Homeland Security made changes that affected passengers flying to the U.S. from Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Casablanca, Qatar and Dubai. Passengers on flights from these destinations are now required to check all electronic devices larger than a smart phone in their luggage.