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It seems that the electronics ban is on a path to end; Qatar Airways has just announced that the electronics ban on their flights from Hamed International in Doha to the U.S. has been lifted. The speed at which the ban is being lifted matches the speed and surprise of its implementation. Earlier in the week, Etihad confirmed that they won a reprieve from the ban. While two days ago, both Turkish Airlines and Emirates announced that the ban on their flights has also been lifted.
Although earlier in the week there was speculation that the reason behind Etihad having the ban lifted on flights from Abu Dhabi (AUH) was the fact that it was home to a US pre-clearance facility, this now seems not to be the case. It does seem that the new security measures announced by the Department of Homeland Security, are the key to any airport having the ban lifted, and avoiding being put on the banned list in the first place.
Saudi Ban To Be Lifted Soon
In another development, Saudi Arabian airline Saudia announced that they expect the electronics ban that currently affects two of its airports—Jeddah and Riyadh—is expected to come to an end. Since by then the company and the airport authorities hope to have implemented all the new security measures set out by the US authorities. Optimistically the company set a provisional date of July 19 by which the ban should have been lifted.
Where Is The Ban Now?
The original electronics ban affected ten airports in eight countries; Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. So far, the flurry of activity in the last week has led to three countries being removed from the list. Currently, the ban only affects six airports in 5 countries, the airports still affected are:
- Queen Alia International Airport (AMM) – Jordan
- Cairo International Airport (CAI) – Egypt
- King Abdul-Aziz International Airport (JED) – Saudi Arabia
- King Khalid International Airport (RUH) – Saudi Arabia
- Kuwait International Airport (KWI) – Kuwait
- Mohammed V Airport (CMN) – Morocco
Although with the new security measures coming in, we may see more countries being added to the banned list while others will be removed.
For most of us, the sooner this ban is consigned to aviation history the better; however, it will probably take some time since the countries that have had the ban lifted are relatively wealthy and have the resources to implement new security measures rapidly. Less wealthy countries may, in the long run, find it very difficult to resource the implementation of enhanced security procedures adequately. In the long-term, we might expect wealthier countries to keep dropping off the banned list, and poorer countries added.
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