MANILA - The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) started yesterday requiring all passengers on international flights, regardless of destination, to switch on all their electronic gadgets.
The move comes in the wake of a new regulation by the United States requiring US-bound travelers from Europe and the Middle East to submit to closer inspection of electronic items such as laptops and smartphones over fears that militants linked to al-Qaeda are developing new explosives that could be slipped onto planes undetected.
In a related development, a source said that aviation security officers from Canada will be in the country to inspect NAIA’s security procedures from July 24 to 26.
The Department of Transportation and Communications’ Office for Transportation Security (OTS) issued a verbal order for departing passengers to turn on their gadgets after these pass through x-ray machines.
If the gadget fails to work, the item will be confiscated and its bearer will be detained for questioning by security officers at the airport, according to the order.
Ninoh Buhay, OTS shift supervisor at NAIA’s Terminal 1, said yesterday they received verbal instructions from the head office “to implement inspection of all electronic devices carried by international passengers regardless of destination” effective immediately.
He added that prior to the new order, OTS personnel have been inspecting all electronic devices by using x-ray machines and scanners.
The Philippine Airlines is the only carrier at NAIA that has direct flights to the US.
Delta Air, Cathay Pacific and China Airlines have stopovers in other Asian countries before proceeding to the US.
NAIA Terminal 2 manager Cecilio Bobila said passengers at NAIA-2 must go through three security checks, the last of which involves PAL security personnel inspecting the items brought by US-bound passengers before allowing them to board the plane.