A new airport facility allows passengers to clear immigration already in the Gulf

By Fortune Editors and Reuters
July 3, 2017

The United States has lifted a ban on laptops in cabins on flights from Abu Dhabi to the U.S., saying Etihad Airways had put in place required tighter security measures.

Etihad credited a facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport where passengers clear immigration before they land in the U.S. for “superior security advantages,” that had allowed it to satisfy U.S. requirements.Etihad operates 45 flights a week between Abu Dhabi and the U.S., according to company data.

Transportation Security Administration officials have checked that the measures had been implemented correctly, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Read: What the Supreme Court’s Trump Travel Ban Ruling Means for People From the 6 Affected Countries

In March the U.S. had banned laptops in cabins on inbound flights originating at 10 airports in eight countries – Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Turkey – to address fears that bombs could be concealed in electronic devices taken aboard aircraft. Britain quickly followed suit with a similar set of restrictions.

Last week the U.S. unveiled security measures for flights to the country designed to prevent the expansion of the ban to more countries that could cause major logistical problems and deter travel.

Read: How Trump’s Laptop Travel Ban Can Be Good for Business

DHS spokesman David Lapan told Reuters that Ethiad’s efforts to implement extra security measures were a model for foreign and domestic airlines. Rivals such as Emirates and Qatar Airways remain under the restrictions.

Dubai Airports, the operator of Emirates hub Dubai International Airport, said Monday it was working “to satisfy the U.S. directive as quickly as possible.”

Read: Airplane Laptop Ban Is Slowing Growth of Middle Eastern Airlines

“We look forward to working with other airlines to ensure implementation of these critical measures as quickly as possible,” said Lapan.

Emirates, the Middle East’s largest airline and a rival to Etihad, said in April it was cutting flights on five U.S. routes because of reduced demand after a travel ban imposed by President Donald Trump, along with the laptop ban.

 

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