Qatar leads Middle East airlines in exemption from laptop ban
Singapore — Qatar Airways joined other major carriers in the Middle East to win an exemption on measures barring laptops from cabins of aircraft after its Doha base complied with new US security guidelines.
All personal electronic devices can be carried on all flights to the US from Doha with immediate effect as Hamad International Airport has met with all requirements of the US Department of Homeland Security, the airline said in a statement on its website on Thursday. The announcement comes a day after Emirates said the ban was lifted for its Dubai base.
Escaping the laptop ban is seen as vital for Middle East operators after the measures led some customers to switch to airlines where they could still use equipment, including tablet computers and gaming consoles. Istanbul, home to Turkish Airlines, declared itself free of the ban on Wednesday, while Etihad Airways hub Abu Dhabi secured exemption last Sunday, aided by the presence of a US "pre-clearance" border post there.
Other airports among the 10 affected by the US ban are also moving toward a resolution, with Saudi Arabia Airlines saying on Tuesday that it expects to be free of the curbs by July 19. Amman-based Royal Jordanian said it has also asked the US Transportation Security Administration to approve its response to the new guidelines requiring stricter security scans and checks.
The US announced the ban on the devices in March, citing security concerns, immediately followed by Britain.