The United States government has lifted the controversial laptop ban on flights from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, after the country’s flagship carrier Etihad, implemented extra airport security measures. Effective immediately, Etihad Airline (the only airline to fly directly from Abu Dhabi to the U.S), has been cleared to allow its’ passengers to bring electronic devices, including tablets, laptops, and e-readers, on flights from Middle East into the United States.
Etihad, which runs about 45 weekly flights between Abu Dhabi and U.S, welcomed the move, and credited a pre-clearance facility situated at Abu Dhabi International Airport where the passengers clear U.S immigration and customs before landing in the U.S, for superior security advantages which had allowed it to satisfy the United States requirements.
The new measures had been carefully inspected by U.S. TSA (abbreviation, for Transportation Security Administration) before the laptop ban was lifted. TSA officials visually verified that the security measures had been correctly implemented, according to an official of DHS (abbreviation for, Department of Homeland Security). The DHS official commended Etihad Airways for putting in place the procedures, and said that it’s a model for both domestic and foreign airlines looking to adopt the new security measures. Other airlines flying from Middle East, like Qatar Airlines and Emirates, remain affected by the ban.
In March, the United States prohibited passengers from carrying electronic devices larger than a cellphone in the main cabins on US bound flights from 10 airports in 8 Muslim majority nations. The U.S government made the decision in response to concerns that terrorist groups like Isis were planning to use electronics devices to hide explosives and blow up passenger planes.
The ban on carrying large electronic devices including iPads, laptops, and Kindles, is still in place for nonstop U.S bound flights from 9 other international airports in Istanbul, Turkey; Amman, Jordan; Cairo, Egypt, Kuwait City, Kuwait; Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; Doha, Qatar; Casablanca, Morocco; and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The United Kingdom’s equivalent ban didn’t include UAE. and it only applies to flights from Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, Tunisia, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.
In the wake of the decision, the Dubai-based Emirates airlines, one of the largest long haul airlines in the world, and a rival to Etihad Airways, has slashed 20% of its’ flights to the United States, blaming a reduced travel demand; first because of the travel ban that was imposed by U.S President Donald Trump, and now due to the electronics’ ban.