Emirates, Turkish Airlines say laptop ban lifted

Mandatory Credit: Photo by David Pearson/Rex / Rex USA (1074422a) Turkish Airlines planes at Ataturk international airport in Istanbul Turkey Istanbul, Turkey - Jun 2012

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 [EMIRA.UL] and Turkish Airlines (THYAO.IS) 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 on board.

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.

 

Zainab Sa’id