Airlines call for “urgent” alternative to laptop ban

Laptops have been banned on certain flights into the US and UK
Laptops have been banned on certain flights into the US and UK

IATA, the global airline body, has urged governments to “urgently” find alternatives to the recently introduced ban on laptops and tablets on certain flights.

The association, which represents 265 of the world’s biggest airlines, said that the recent measures imposed by the US and the UK governments to restrict the carry-on of large electronic items on certain flights from Middle East and North Africa are unacceptable.

“The current measures are not an acceptable long-term solution to whatever threat they are trying to mitigate. Even in the short term it is difficult to understand their effectiveness. And the commercial distortions they create are severe. We call on governments to work with the industry to find a way to keep flying secure without separating passengers from their personal electronics,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general & CEO.

De Juniac made this demand in a speech to the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations, in which he also highlighted the need to maintain public confidence in the security of the global aviation industry.

Alexandre de Juniac
Alexandre de Juniac

“With the measures now in place, our passengers and member airlines are asking valid questions. Why don’t the US and the UK have a common list of airports? How can laptops be secure in the cabin on some flights and not others, including flights departing from the same airport? And surely there must be a way to screen electronic equipment effectively?

“The current situation is not acceptable and will not maintain the all-important confidence of the industry or of travellers. We must find a better way, and governments must act quickly,” de Juniac asserted.
IATA also expressed frustration that there was “no prior consultation” on the new regulations.

Passengers have been banned from carrying personal electronic devices larger than smartphones on certain flights into the UK and US, from countries including Turkey, Kuwait, Egypt, Morocco and the UAE. For example, the rule applies to passengers on all direct flights from Dubai to the US.

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