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Qatar Airways announces lifting of laptop ban on US-bound flights

Add Qatar Airways to the list of carriers that have announced a lifting of the ban on personal electronic devices in-cabin on flights bound for the United States.

Back in March, the United States issued a ban on direct flights originating at 10 airports in eight countries – Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Turkey – to allay fears that explosives can be stored and hidden inside electronic devices that are being taken inside the cabin.

Qatar Airways announced in a statement that the ban had been lifted after the airline and its hub airport Hamad International conformed to the new U.S. security requirements that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) mandated on June 29 for flights to America. These measures required additional time to screen passengers and personal electronic devices for possible explosives.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker said that the airline was found to be in compliance with the “new draconian requirements” after an audit over the previous two days.

U.S. transport officials were set to visit Qatar Airways, Emirates and Turkish Airlines on July 5 to inspect the latest measures, a spokesman for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) shared.

TSA confirmed on Twitter that the restrictions on Qatar Airways and Hamad International had been lifted.

Airlines affected by the ban have expressed opposition since demand on U.S. flights had been declined by limitations imposed by President Donald Trump’s administration.

Middle East carriers saw demand rise by 3.7% in May compared with a year earlier, close to an eight-year low, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) stated.

IATA said the shaky growth was reflective of the laptop ban on U.S.-bound flights and ambiguity over President Trump’s proposed travel bans.

The new U.S. security measures, which take effect within three weeks of the announcement, will impact around 325,000 passengers a day traveling on 180 airlines from 280 airports around the world, according to research done by the DHS.

Airlines that fail to meet the new security requirements could still face in-cabin restrictions on electronic devices.

Saudi Arabian Airlines has said it expects the ban to be lifted on flights from Jeddah and Riyadh by July 19.

Royal Air Maroc also believes it can have the ban lifted for flights out of Casablanca’s Mohammed V International Airport by July 19.

Other airlines affected by the ban include Royal Jordanian, Kuwait Airways and EgyptAir.


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