Emirates, Turkish Airlines say laptop ban lifted on US flights

DUBAI/ISTANBUL, July 5 (Reuters) - The United States has lifted the in-cabin ban on laptops and other large electronic devices on U.S.-bound flights from Dubai and Istanbul, Emirates and Turkish Airlines said on Wednesday.

The announcements come three days after the ban was lifted on Etihad Airways' flights to the United States from Abu Dhabi International Airport.

The ban on U.S. flights from Dubai International, the world's busiest airport for international travel, has been lifted after new security measures announced by the U.S. last week were implemented, an Emirates spokeswoman said in a statement.

Emirates, the Middle East's largest airline and which flies to 12 U.S. cities, had blamed travel restrictions imposed by President Donald Trump's administration for a drop in demand on U.S. flights.

The Dubai-based carrier cut flights to five U.S. cities from May but had since said demand was starting to return on some routes.

Meanwhile Turkish Airlines said in a statement that passengers traveling to the United States could now take their laptops onboard.

See more related to this story:

10 PHOTOS
Airline rankings according to ACSI
See Gallery
Airline rankings according to ACSI

1. JetBlue Airways Corp.

Photo by Timothy Fadek/Bloomberg via Getty Images

2. Southwest Airlines

Photo by KGrif via Getty Images

3. Alaska Airlines

Photo by mixmotive via Getty Images

4. American Airlines

Photo by rypson via Getty Images

5. Delta Airlines

Photo by rypson via Getty Images

6. Allegiant Air

Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images

7. United Airlines

Photo by csfotoimages via Getty Images

8. Frontier Airlines

Photo by Kathryn Scott Osler/The Denver Post via Getty Images

9. Spirit Airlines Inc.

Photo by Balint Porneczi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Emirates and Turkish Airlines are the only airlines that operate direct flights from Dubai and Istanbul, respectively, to the United States.

Turkish Airlines Chief Executive Bilal Eksi also tweeted that the airline expected similar restrictions on flights to Britain would soon be lifted.

"A technical team will come from Britain for an assessment within one week," Turkey's Transport Minister Ahmet Arslan told reporters in the capital Ankara. "I'm sure they will lift that ban. There is no reason for the ban to continue."

U.S. and British officials carried out inspections of security measures at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport on Tuesday, the Dogan news agency reported earlier.

There was no immediate comment available from U.S. officials on the lifting of the ban in Dubai and Istanbul.

The U.K. ban does not apply to flights from Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Security officials were seen examining passengers' laptops at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport on Wednesday following the lifting of restrictions.

"When I was buying the ticket I thought 'shall I buy one for the day after just in case', but I bought one for today when they said it was being lifted," Emre Tokmak, a passenger on a Turkish Airlines morning flight to New York traveling with his laptop, told reporters at the airport.

In March the United States imposed the ban on direct flights originating at 10 airports in eight countries -- Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Turkey -- to address fears that bombs could be concealed in electronic devices taken aboard aircraft.

Some airlines affected by the ban tried to soften the impact of the restrictions by allowing passengers to check in banned devices shortly before boarding and offering to loan tablets for use during the flight to those traveling in first or business class.

"Whilst it is difficult to quantify the actual financial impact of the ban it's positive for those carriers for whom it's been lifted," aviation industry consultant John Strickland told Reuters. "Perception is important for lucrative business travelers and this restores a sense of ease and convenience in using these carriers."

The United States announced on June 29 enhanced security measures for flights to the country which require additional time to screen passengers and personal electronic devices for possible explosives.

The new measures, which take effect within three weeks of the announcement, will affect around 325,000 daily passengers traveling on 180 airlines from 280 airports around the world, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Airlines that fail to meet the new security requirements could still face in-cabin electronics restrictions.

Saudi Arabia Airlines (Saudia) expects the ban to be lifted on flights from Jeddah and Riyadh by July 19, state news agency SPA reported on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Alexander Cornwell in Dubai, Daren Butler and Can Sezer in Istanbul; Editing by Louise Heavens, Greg Mahlich)

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.