Europe-U.S. flights to lose $1.4bn to electronic device ban

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned that expanding the cabin ban on the carriage of large Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) to Europe-to-US flights can lead to 1.4 billion dollars loss in productivity.

The Director General of the Geneva-based apex aviation body, Mr Alexandre de Juniac, said the ban was one of the key issues to be discussed at IATA’s 73rd Annual General Assembly scheduled for Cancun, Mexico.

He said the PED ban which was announced on March 21 by the President Donald Trump’s administration from 10 Middle Eastern and African airports to the U.S., appeared to have weighed down Middle East-North America passenger traffic.

April showed us that demand for air travel remains at very strong levels. Nevertheless, there are indications that passengers are avoiding routes where the large PED ban is in place. As the U.S. Department of Homeland Security considers expanding the ban, the need to find alternative measures to keep flying secure is critical. If the ban were extended to Europe-to-US flights, for example, we estimate a 1.4 billion dollars hit on productivity. An IATA-commissioned survey of business travellers indicates that 15 per cent would seek to reduce their travel in the face of a ban.”

On the AGM, he said it would feature keynote addresses by Mr Gerardo Esparza, Mexico’s Minister of Communications and Transport and Nigeria’s Dr Olumuyiwa Aliu, President of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

De Juniac said: “Cancun will be the capital of air transportation as aviation leaders gather for the 73rd IATA AGM and World Air Transport Summit. The airline industry’s most senior leaders will work together to address air transport’s most critical issues. Hot topics will include finding alternative means to keep flying secure without the inconvenience of the current laptop ban, combating human trafficking, implementing the carbon offset and reduction scheme for international aviation and modernising air cargo processes.”

The IATA AGM and World Air Transport Summit bring together chief executive officers and senior management from IATA’s 275 member-airlines that carry 83 per cent of global air traffic.

Stakeholders across the value chain will participate in the event, including leaders from governments, international organisations, manufacturers and other industry partners.