Turkey Secures Laptop Ban Exemption

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Turkish Airlines said it expects measures barring large electronic devices from the cabins of aircraft leaving Istanbul for the U.S. to be lifted Wednesday, while long-haul competitor Emirates is counting on the restrictions being removed from its Dubai hub in the near future.

Shares of Turkish Air rose 2.4 percent following the comments from Chief Executive Bilal Eksi via Twitter late Monday. Emirates meanwhile said it’s “working hard” with authorities to apply enhanced airport security guidelines required by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to secure exemption from the ban.

“We hope that we will receive validation that all measures have been successfully implemented so that the electronics ban can be lifted as soon as possible for our U.S. flights,” the Persian Gulf carrier said in an email.

Abu Dhabi, the home base of Etihad Airways, became the first airport to see the laptops ban lifted Sunday, aided by a so called pre-clearance regime in which travelers are subject to U.S. border checks before boarding the plane. The lifting of the ban at major Mideast hubs will spell relief for carriers after the measures led some customers to switch to airlines where they could still use large personal devices en route.

U.S. restrictions on visas for citizens of six Muslim-majority countries could still mean fewer passengers on some flights, while demand from the Gulf has weakened as the low price of crude holds back oil-based economies. At the same time a political dispute between Qatar and several of its Arab neighbors has forced Qatar Airways to scrap some flights and divert others.

Abu Dhabi’s laptops ban was lifted after U.S. Transportation Security Administration officials assessed enhanced security procedures in a two-hour check late Saturday, according to Abdul Majeed Al Khoori, acting chief executive officer of the airport’s parent company.

The airport was one of 10 in the Middle East and North Africa where American authorities stopped passengers from bringing electronic items larger than mobile phones onto U.S.-bound planes as of late March. U.S. officials are pushing hubs to beef up security after intelligence reports indicated terrorist groups may be capable of hiding bombs in the devices.

Emirates, the world’s biggest long-haul airline, has previously said it suffered a drop in bookings and had to ground 13 planes because of U.S. restrictions on entry visas as well as the electronic carry-ons. Dubai Airports has “offered our full cooperation to work with regulatory officials, control authorities and Emirates” to ease limits on devices, but the operator can’t estimate when they’ll end, a spokesman said.



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