Emirates boss confident US laptop ban will end soon

Emirates boss confident US laptop ban will end soon
A laptop ban on some flights coming to the US could soon end, Emirates' chairman Sir Tim Clark has told local media, making travel a little easier for UAE travelers.
2 min read
27 April, 2017
Sir Tim Clark hopes the US' laptop ban will be overturned [AFP]

Dubai-based carrier Emirates is hopeful that a US ban on electronic items from some destinations - including the UAE - could soon be overturned, according to the group's chairman.

Sir Tim Clark told Dubai Eye radio station that the controversial ban on laptops and tablets on Emirates' flights to the US could soon end with a bit of gentle persuasion from the Emirati carrier.

"I'm forever an optimist. I think we will get a resolution to all of this - that demand will be restored, and sooner rather than later we will put back the capacity that we've taken out on this temporary basis," Clark said, according to What's On Dubai.

"We're hoping that we can persuade the US that we can do the job for them without belittling or diminishing their concerns about the risk. I hope in the next few weeks we can persuade them that's the case."

Clark said the US most likely had legitimate reasons for the laptop ban. He also denied rumours rife in the UAE that Washington enacted the ban to protect local carriers from Gulf competitors.

"I've said quite publicly I don’t believe that to be the case," Clark added.

"I believe the US detected a clear and present threat, and that they needed to deal with that in a fairly draconian matter and that of course is what happened."

The US enacted a ban on electronic items larger than mobile phones last month which affected airlines from several countries in the Middle East and Africa, including the UAE.

Washington said its decision was related to intelligence reports that the Islamic State group or Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula - based in Yemen - might be trying to target flights to the US.

Clark said he hoped he can convince the US that Emirati security are up to the job.

"It could be that if we can persuade the US government that we can do a very good job in preventing all these things happening," he said. 

Emirates announced that it was scaling back its flights to the US a month after the laptop ban was announced.

The airline said this and Trump's so-called "Muslim ban" had led to a decline in demand on US routes.

Clark again said that the reduction in flights was purely motivated by business concerns and not a retaliatory measure.

"It wasn't helped with the laptop ban, it wasn't helped with other initiatives that the US government took for its own reasons."