Six of the 9 airlines originally hit with bans on laptops being carried aboard the passenger cabin on direct flights to the U.S. from Middle East airports have now been taken off the list as they certify compliance with new security procedures.
Royal Jordanian and Kuwait airlines were the latest removals; Etihad, Emirates, Turkish and Qatar were cleared last week. Only EgyptAir, Royal Air Maroc and Saudi Arabian Airlines remain on the list. They have far fewer affected flights than the others, especially the three Gulf carriers and Turkish, which fly dozens of daily flights to the U.S.
The ban, which applied to anything larger than a cellphone, was implemented over fears that terrorists had gotten better at hiding explosives in electronics. For a time, it appeared that the U.S. Homeland Security department intended to ultimately apply the ban to all flights, but has backed off from that.
Aside from improved security measures, there were fears over the hazards of large numbers of lithium ion batteries unattended in cargo. Commercial shipments of those batteries by air are controlled by very strict preparation rules.