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Emirates, Turkish Carriers Latest Airlines to be Exempt from US Electronic Ban | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Emirates airlines planes are parked at Dubai airport. (AFP)

Emirates and Turkish Airlines have been exempt from the US ban on travelers carrying laptops and computer tablets on flights.

Emirates announced Wednesday that it had won an exemption from flights headed to the US from its base in Dubai.

Emirates is the third carrier after neighboring Abu Dhabi’s Etihad and Turkish Airlines to win a reprieve from the new rules Washington imposed three months ago on direct flights from 10 airports in Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa.

“The ban on electronic devices has been lifted with immediate effect for flights to destinations in the United States,” an airline spokesman told AFP.

He said Emirates had won the exemption after implementing new security measures demanded by Washington in March when intelligence officials learned of efforts by the ISIS terror group to produce a bomb that could be hidden inside electronic devices.

They required the installation of sophisticated imaging devices for X-ray and ultrasound screening of carry-on devices.

All other electronic devices larger than a mobile phone had to be transported only in checked luggage.

The laptop ban triggered a fall in demand for Emirates’ US-bound flights and in May the airline reduced services on five of the 12 US airports it serves.

Etihad was the first airline to meet the new US security requirements, with its exemption starting on Sunday. Turkish Airlines followed earlier on Wednesday.

Britain announced a similar ban on personal electronic devices for flights originating from six countries, including Turkey, but not the United Arab Emirates.

Turkish Airlines chief executive Bilal Eksi said on Wednesday that he expected Britain to lift its ban on the airline’s flights “shortly”.

“Dear Passengers, #WelcomeOnBoard to our US-bound flight. Please fasten your seatbelts and enjoy your own electronic devices,” Turkish Airlines, the country’s flag carrier, said on Twitter late Tuesday.

The ban’s lifting comes after Turkey began using sophisticated tomography imaging devices for X-ray and ultrasound screening at Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport.

Ataturk is the only airport in Turkey with direct flights to the United States.

The first Turkish Airlines flight affected by the ban’s removal was its 6.45am (0345 GMT) flight for New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport, the Dogan news agency reported.