US lifts laptop ban on Emirates flights

US lifts laptop ban on Emirates flights
Emirates airlines is now exempt from the electronics ban joining Etihad in satisfying American security concerns.
2 min read
05 July, 2017
Emirates Airline has overcome Trump's laptop ban [AFP]
Dubai based Emirates airlines said on Wednesday that it is now exempt from the electronics ban, joining Etihad in satisfying American security concerns that had cut into the long-haul carriers’ business.

However, in Turkey, authorities now use CT scanners to take cross-section images of passengers’ electronics just before they board airplanes heading to the US.

Emirates’ hub at Dubai International Airport has grown into the world’s busiest for international traffic, in large part thanks to Emirates’ expansion. It was one of 10 airports affected by the ban on cabin electronics put in place by the Trump administration in March.

On Wednesday, Emirates said in a statement that it had worked to “implement heightened security measures and protocols” to satisfy American requirements. It did not elaborate, following a similar precedent set by Abu Dhabi-based Etihad, which American officials cleared on Sunday.

Read more: Arab airlines respond to US and UK's #ElectronicsBan

“We would like to express our gratitude to the US and local authorities for their support and thank our customers for their understanding and patience during the last few months when the ban was in place,” Emirates said.

The US laptop ban, first announced in March as a security measure, now applies to nonstop US-bound flights from seven international airports in Amman, Jordan; Kuwait City; Cairo; Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Casablanca, Morocco; and Doha, Qatar.

Qatar Airways, the last of the three major Gulf long-haul carriers on the list, declined to answer questions on Wednesday about the ban. That airline already has been blocked from much of its neighbours’ airspace over an ongoing dispute with four Arab nations.

Saudi Arabian Airlines has said it hopes to be off the ban list “on or before 19 July.”

However, the security concerns also come amid a wider dispute between Gulf airlines and American carriers, which accuse the Middle East airlines of flooding the market with flights while receiving billions of dollars of unfair government subsidies. The Gulf carriers all vigorously deny that.

The laptop ban, coupled with the Trump administration’s travel ban on six predominantly Muslim countries, has hurt Middle Eastern airlines.

Emirates, the region’s biggest, said it slashed 20 percent of its flights to America in the wake of the restrictions. The airline said Wednesday it now flies 103 flights a week to the US.