Both Emirates and Turkish Airways announced Wednesday that they are now officially exempt from the U.S. ban on laptops in airplane cabins, NBC News reported.
“Emirates has been working hard in coordination with various aviation stakeholders and the local authorities to implement heightened security measures and protocols that meet the requirements of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's new security guidelines for all U.S. bound flights,” the airline said in a statement.
For its part, Turkish Airlines simply tweeted, “Dear Passengers, #WelcomeOnBoard to our US-bound flight. Please fasten your seatbelts and enjoy your own electronic devices.”
The two airlines now join Etihad as the three major carriers to satisfy the new security requirements set forth by the United States.
In late June, the U.S. announced its new enhanced security measures for all flights entering the country, which if met would mean airlines could ease restrictions on laptops and tablets in the cabins of their aircrafts. The measures, Reuters reported, affected about 2,000 commercial flights arriving daily in the United States, on 180 airlines from 280 airports in 105 countries.
While not all of the new measures were revealed for security reasons, some of the new requirements include interviews of passengers before boarding, increased use of K9 dogs and explosive trace detection equipment, an aviation analyst explained to CNN. As U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said in his briefing “inaction is not an option,” noting that if airlines did not comply the electronics ban would not be lifted.
More airlines are expected to meet the new requirements soon. Saudia, Saudi Arabia's national carrier, said in a statement Tuesday that it is aiming to have the ban lifted by July 19.
The ban, CNN reported, still applies to U.S.-bound flights from seven other airports in the Middle East and North Africa. It will continue to affect six airlines, including Qatar Airways. A separate electronics ban on flights from Turkey to the U.K. also remains in place.
The ban on laptops, coupled with President Donald Trump’s travel ban on six Middle Eastern nations, lead to Emirates, the region's biggest carrier, to slash 20 percent of its flights to America, NBC reported. And the new security measures may simply be “security theater,” as Brian Kelly, a.k.a. The Points Guy told Travel + Leisure.
“I do not believe targeting some of the world's most high tech and advanced airports makes sense. To me this reeks of security theater, scare tactics, and a direct blow to the ME3 carriers that the U.S. has been complaining about for years,” Kelly said. “It’s idiocy that’s going to inconvenience millions of passengers.”