US Lifts Laptop Ban on Emirates, Turkish Airlines Flights

Qatar Airways says its passengers can once again carry on laptop computers and other personal electronics for direct flights to the United States.

The airline says it and its hub Hamad International Airport had met new U.S. security requirements.

In March, the U.S. banned laptops and large electronics from the cabins of direct flights from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa over concerns that terrorists could hide bombs inside the devices.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said last week airlines needed to implement sophisticated imaging technology for X-Ray and ultrasound screening of carry-on devices, or continue to ban passengers from bringing the electronics on the plane.

Qatar Airways is the fourth airline to announce this week the restrictions were being lifted for its passengers.

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad, Dubai-based Emirates and Istanbul-based Turkish Airlines also say they have met the new requirements.

Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst and president of the San Francisco-based Atmosphere Research Group, told VOA he is not surprised at how quickly the airlines and associated airports have made the changes because they had already invested a lot of money into keeping up with U.S. Department of Homeland Security screening standards.

Harteveldt also described what he thinks passengers can now expect.

“First the screening may take a little bit longer than you’re used to,” he said.”There may be a secondary screening applied at the boarding gate, either before you enter the gate area itself or before you leave the gate to board the airplane.”

An Emirates spokesperson said in a statement new imaging technology was put in place at Dubai International, the world’s busiest airport for international travel.

Emirates airlines had reported a decline in the past month in demand for flights to the United States, and consequently cut its schedule from Dubai to five U.S. cities.

The ban still applies to non-stop U.S.-bound flights from airports in Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Morocco.

Source: Voice of America