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US ends laptop ban on Middle East flights

The laptop ban on some flights to the US from the Middle East and North Africa has officially ended.

Over the last few weeks, the US Department of Homeland Security has progressively lifted the ban on taking larger electronic devices onboard flights from 10 airports in the MENA region as they met new security requirements.

Riyadh’s King Khalid International airport was the last of the 10 airports to have the US laptop ban lifted this week.

The US ban was imposed in March due to security fears – the UK also implemented its own laptop ban on flights from six countries (Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia) which remains in place.

The move was welcomed by ACTE executive director Greeley Koch.

“We are heartened to hear that the Trump administration has finally ended its laptop ban,” he said. “This is one less burdensome regulation business travellers – and tourists – must grapple with as they plan their future travel.

“The policy was insufficient as a standalone measure to address very real ongoing security threats, and did not take into account the need for travellers to maintain connectivity and productivity, especially for long intercontinental flights where being off the grid can lead to business interruption.

“There remain other travel policies that continue to leave questions unanswered; namely, the immigration ban introduced earlier this year.

“We’d hope that the Trump administration would seriously reconsider such policies, as well, and focus their resources and efforts on developing enhanced screening techniques and technologies that better serve travellers and provide the comprehensive security we need.”

 

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