In March 2017, the Electronics Ban made travel from the Middle East & Africa much harder for business people, as large electronic items had to be placed in the hold – although any policy that keeps our way of life safe has to be welcomed.
Airlines introduced initiatives, wherefore you could keep your laptop until your departure gate, helping to ease concerns over theft, but it still made working on the go inefficient for frequent business flyers. Both the United Kingdom and the United States introduced bans, presumably off shared intelligence, however the US ban included destinations that the UK ban did not (such as the UAE and Qatar), whereas the UK didn’t and vice versa.
Throughout July, the US electronics ban was lifted on an airline-specific basis, with Saudia & Egyptair being some of the last airlines to have the ban lifted. The United States then added additional security checks as a consequence and has now prohibited laptops being transported in the hold
However, as of now the UK electronics ban remains in place, for most countries. On July 28th 2017, the ban was lifted for Turkish Airlines & Pegasus departing out of Istanbul & Izmir to the UK. Then, on 4th August 2017, the ban was lifted for Thomas Cook flights from Dalaman, EasyJet flights from Bodrum and Amman Queen Alia Airport had it’s ban lifted with Royal Jordanian flights to the UK no longer affected.
These flights will, however, will be subject to additional tough security measures, including explosive trace detection and ‘enhanced surveillance’. Here is what the British Transport Secretary – Chris Grayling – had to say:
“Having looked carefully at the changes introduced in March, and working with our international partners and the industry on tough additional security measures, we can now lift the ban on electronic devices in the cabin on a small number of UK-bound flights from Istanbul and Izmir. The remaining restrictions will be lifted only when we are satisfied it is safe and proportionate to do so.
-Chris Grayling, Transport Secretary-
It sounds like the UK will be pursuing a country/airline specific drawback of the electronics ban, akin to the US.
Note that British flag carrier – British Airways – are still subject to the ban out of Jordan and Turkey, and so are flights from Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.
British Airways said that they are ‘working with the UK government’ to ‘assess the security requirements in all of the countries where the UK government restrictions currently apply’.
I expect there will be more news regarding this shortly, however, for now, travelling with your laptop is becoming much more efficient.
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Featured image by CNN.