Passengers traveling on two major middle eastern airlines, Turkish Airways and Emirates Airlines, will be allowed to bring laptops into cabins during their flights to the United States, according to David Lapan, a spokesman for Homeland Security in Washington, DC.
A third airline is also exempt from the new US restrictions, Abu Dhabi’s-Etihad Airlines.
The reasons for the lenient approach to these carriers is still unclear, leaving some wondering what these companies do differently to ensure that terrorists do not smuggle explosives on to airplanes through electronic devices. In Turkey, the use of CT scanners to examine electronics just before boarding has recently been instituted, helping heighten the level of security on flights to the USA.
Both airlines informed the US Department of Homeland Security that, “they are ready to comply with the enhanced security measures.”
“Protecting the American people and raising the global baseline on aviation security remains the top priority,” Lapan said. “We will continue to closely observe operations in these airports to ensure these enhanced measures are implemented effectively and to the required levels.”
Dubai International Airport is now the world’s busiest for international traffic, mostly due to the great expansion of Emirates Airlines, whose hub is in Dubai.
Emirates said in a statement that it has been able to “implement heightened security measures and protocols” to the standard that meets the requirements of the United States. What those measures are, exactly, was not discussed, but it followed a similar permission granted to Etihad earlier in the week.
“We would like to express our gratitude to the U.S. and local authorities for their support and thank our customers for their understanding and patience during the last few months when the ban was in place,” Emirates said.
Turkish Airlines sent Twitter messages to their passengers heading to the US that they should, “fasten your seatbelts and enjoy your own electronic devices.”
The airline said that over the past 102 days the ban on laptops in cabins originating in the Middle East to the US they had taken away more than 81,000 electronic devices, storing them in special protected baggage.
The ban on laptops in airplane cabins on flights to the US still applies to seven international airports in the Middle East: Amman, Jordan; Kuwait City; Cairo; Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Casablanca, Morocco; and Doha, Qatar.