Abu Dhabi air­port now ex­empt from US ban on lap­tops

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

DUBAI: The cap­i­tal of the United Arab Emi­rates be­came the first city to be ex­empt from a US ban on lap­top com­put­ers be­ing in air­plane cab­ins, the coun­try’s flag car­rier said yesterday. Long-haul air­line Eti­had said it wel­comed the de­ci­sion by the US Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity, which comes “sub­ject to en­hanced se­cu­rity mea­sures” at Abu Dhabi In­ter­na­tional Air­port. That air­port al­ready has a US Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion fa­cil­ity that al­lows pas­sen­gers to clear screen­ing they’d oth­er­wise have to go through when land­ing in Amer­ica.

Eti­had did not elab­o­rate on what ad­di­tional se­cu­rity mea­sures pas­sen­gers would face to be al­lowed to have their lap­tops, tablets and other elec­tron­ics with them on their flights. Nei­ther Abu Dhabi In­ter­na­tional Air­port nor Home­land Se­cu­rity im­me­di­ately re­sponded to a re­quest for comment. The US ban, first an­nounced in March, now ap­plies to non­stop US-bound flights from nine in­ter­na­tional air­ports in Am­man, Kuwait, Cairo, Is­tan­bul, Jeddah, Riyadh, Casablanca, Doha and Dubai.

In late May, Home­land Se­cu­rity Sec­re­tary John Kelly said he was con­sid­er­ing ban­ning lap­tops from the pas­sen­ger cab­ins of all in­ter­na­tional flights to and from the United States. Kelly’s com­ments came af­ter US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump shared highly clas­si­fied in­tel­li­gence about the Is­lamic State group want­ing to use lap­tops to tar­get air­craft with se­nior Rus­sian of­fi­cials vis­it­ing the White House.

The lap­top ban, as well as a Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion travel ban on six pre­dom­i­nantly Mus­lim na­tions, has hurt Gulf long-haul car­ri­ers. Emi­rates, the long-haul car­rier based in Dubai, has slashed 20 per­cent of its flights to Amer­ica in the wake of those de­ci­sions.

The air­line also has been try­ing to get the ban lifted for its di­rect flights to the US. It did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for comment. Dubai In­ter­na­tional Air­port, Emi­rates’ home, is the world’s busiest in­ter­na­tional air travel hub. Mean­while, long-haul car­rier Qatar Air­ways has been hurt amid a diplo­matic dis­pute with Arab na­tions that has seen its own routes in the re­gion cut off. — AP

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