Dubai’s Emirates is mulling the possibility of ‘loaning’ laptops to passengers as it copes with a US ban on large electronic devices in flight cabins, according to a report.
Under new security measures introduced by the US on March 25, electronic devices larger than a mobile phone have been banned from passenger cabins on direct US flights from 10 airports in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Emirates president Tim Clark said the airline may seek out “creative” ways to work around the ban, including providing government-approved laptops that “can be used in-flight to help people do what they need to do in the absence of devices that are in the hold.”
Currently, the Dubai airport allows people to take their electronic devices through the airport to the gate, where they are checked into the hold. The devices are returned on arrival at the US destination.
Clark hit out against the targeting of the ban, asserting that if laptops posed a risk during flights, then the restriction “should be applied to the airline industry universally”.
Emirates, which currently operates 18 flights per day to the US, is yet to ascertain the complete impact of the ban on travellers, he added.
“So far, so good. It’s still early days, we have to see what the next few months will bring us,” he told Bloomberg.
Earlier this week, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker also said it was difficult to judge the immediate impact of the ban.
“At the moment it is too early to say if it will affect our business,” Al Baker told reporters in London.
However, he was less critical about its selective implementation, saying the move was not designed to hurt Gulf airlines.
“I don’t think it is fair for me to say it is targeting Gulf airlines,” Al Baker said.
“As far as I am concerned it is a security measure and we have to comply with that.”