WASHINGTON: World airlines will begin applying new security standards and questioning passengers more fully before flights to the United States from Thursday.
Emirates, Air France and Norwegian confirmed to AFP that US authorities had asked for tougher controls, and other carriers issued statements confirming they would apply them.
Details of the new measures, which were announced as President Donald Trump’s administration is working to toughen controls on refugees and immigrants, were limited.
Emirates said passengers would be subjected to “pre-screening interviews at the check-in counter” whereas Air France said it expected to apply an additional “security interview.”
Cathay Pacific said it would halt services allowing passengers to check in luggage from downtown Hong Kong or curbside at the airport, and instead interview them at check-in gates.
The airlines suggested that passengers arrive early for their flights to account for any additional delays caused by the new rules.
Norwegian said that its passengers would receive instructions by SMS message and that check-in desks would open four hours before departure for flights to the United States.
US officials could not immediately comment on the measures, but they came as the White House was attempting to impose a number of measures to control arrivals to the United States.
On Tuesday, Trump issued an executive order ending a moratorium on refugee arrivals but re-imposing controls on those coming from 11 countries, most of them with Muslim majorities.
Previously, the administration has banned laptops and larger electronics from cabins on flights from certain Middle East hubs, and has attempted to impose a blanket visa ban on some countries — a measure now tied up in court.
The White House has insisted the new controls are designed as anti-terror safeguards but Trump’s critics have accused him of unfairly targeting Muslims with blanket measures.
In addition, he has vowed to build a huge — and hugely expensive — wall across the southern US border to prevent illegal immigration from Mexico and Latin America.