OTTAWA -- Canada's transport minister says the federal government is taking a close look at the circumstances behind efforts in the United States and the U.K. to ban certain electronic devices from carry-on baggage.
But Marc Garneau is stopping short of saying whether Canada will follow the lead of the two countries in banning the devices from flights originating in six countries in the Middle East and Africa.
The U.K. government says it is imposing the new aviation security measures on all inbound direct flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.
That follows a similar U.S. ban on "any phones, laptops or tablets larger than a normal-sized mobile or smartphone" inside the aircraft cabin.
The U.S. government is temporarily barring passengers on certain flights originating in eight Muslim-majority countries from bringing laptops, iPads, cameras and most other electronics in carry-on luggage.
The indefinite U.S. ban, which affects nine airlines and seeks to bolster airline security, was to go into effect next week once the Transportation Security Administration informs the affected airlines.
"We will be reviewing the information that has been provided," Garneau said Tuesday after the government's weekly cabinet meeting.
"We are looking at the information that has been presented to us we will look at it very carefully.... There is not a specific timeline; we are acting expeditiously."
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said passengers traveling from the 10 selected airports could not bring devices larger than a cellphone, such as tablets, portable DVD players, laptops and cameras, into the main cabin. Instead, they must be in checked baggage.
The new restrictions were prompted by reports that militant groups want to smuggle explosive devices in electronic gadgets, officials told reporters on a conference call on Monday.
They did not provide further details on the threat.
The airports are in Cairo; Istanbul; Kuwait City; Doha, Qatar; Casablanca, Morocco; Amman, Jordan; Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; and Dubai and Abu Dhabi in United Arab Emirates.
Officials said the decision had nothing to do with President Donald Trump's efforts to impose a travel ban on six majority-Muslim nations. DHS spokeswoman Gillian Christensen said the government "did not target specific nations. We relied upon evaluated intelligence to determine which airports were affected."
On March 6, Trump signed a revised executive order barring citizens from Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from traveling to the United States for 90 days. Two federal judges have halted parts of the ban, saying it discriminates against Muslims. Trump has vowed to appeal up to the Supreme Court if necessary.
The airports affected by the electronics rules are served by nine airlines that fly directly from those cities to the United States about 50 flights a day, senior government officials said.
The carriers - Royal Jordanian Airlines, Egypt Air, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways , Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways - have until Friday to comply with the new policy, which took effect early on Tuesday and will be in place indefinitely.
Several of the carriers, including Turkish Airlines, Etihad and Qatar, said early on Tuesday that they were quickly moving to comply. Royal Jordanian and Saudi Airlines said on Monday that they were immediately putting the directive into place.
An Emirates spokeswoman said the new security directive would last until Oct. 14. However, Christensen termed that date "a placeholder for review" of the rule.
The policy does not affect any American carriers because none fly directly to the United States from the airports, officials said.
Officials did not explain why the restrictions only apply to travelers arriving in the United States and not for those same flights when they leave from there.
The rules do apply to U.S. citizens traveling on those flights, but not to crew members on those foreign carriers. Homeland Security will allow passengers to use larger approved medical devices.
Angela Gittens, director general of airport association ACI World, likened the move to yearslong restrictions of liquids on planes, which she said also came suddenly, in response to a perceived threat, and caused some disruption.
Airlines will adjust to the electronics policy, she said. "The first few days of something like this are quite problematic, but just as with the liquids ban, it will start to sort itself out."
DHS said the procedures would "remain in place until the threat changes" and did not rule out expanding them to other airports.
The agency said in a statement it "seeks to balance risk with impacts to the traveling public and has determined that cellphones and smartphones will be allowed in accessible property at this time."
The government said it was "concerned about terrorists' ongoing interest in targeting commercial aviation, including transportation hubs over the past two years."
Reuters reported Monday that the move had been under consideration since the U.S. government learned of a threat several weeks ago.
U.S. officials have told Reuters the information gleaned from a U.S. commando raid in January in Yemen that targeted al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula included bombmaking techniques.
AQAP, based in Yemen, has plotted to down U.S. airliners and claimed responsibility for 2015 attack on the office of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris.
The group claimed responsibility for a Dec. 25, 2009, failed attempt by a Nigerian Islamist to down an airliner over Detroit. The device, hidden in the underwear of the man, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, failed to detonate.
In 2010, security officials in Britain and Dubai intercepted parcel bombs sent from Yemen to the United States.
The Homeland Security Department stepped up security of U.S.-bound flights in July 2014, requiring tougher screening of mobile phones and other electronic devices and requiring them to be powered up before passengers could board flights to the United States.