Homeland Security loosens laptop ban at Abu Dhabi airport

The UAE capital hub became the first airport to allow electronics back in carry-on luggage after the U.S. ban in March.

Jul 3, 2017, 10:15 am

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Monica Riese 

Monica Riese

ethiad regional aircraft

Photo via Markus Eigenheer/Flickr (CC-BY-SA)

Just three months after the United States banned electronic devices from carry-on bags in flights originating from eight Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East, parts of the strict guidelines are starting to be repealed.

The airport in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, became the first airport exempt from the electronics ban. This reversal comes after Ethiad worked with Abu Dhabi International Airport—the airline’s headquarters—to implement additional security screening.

“The enhanced security measures, both seen and unseen, include enhanced screening of passengers and electronic devices,” said U.S. Department of Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan. “We commend Etihad for working swiftly to implement these additional measures.”

It makes sense that additional security checks would allow an airport to bypass the ban. Officials originally claimed the bans were put into place to “address ‘gaps’ in foreign airport security,” and the decision was informed at least in part by classified intelligence from an Israeli source about a Syrian bomb-making cell. That intelligence is reportedly what President Donald Trump shared with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during their White House visit in May.

The electronics ban is still in full effect at airports in Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, and Morocco. This is separate from the president’s travel ban on passengers from six Muslim-majority nations: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

H/T Skift

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