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IATA CEO says US, UK electronics bans creating ‘severe’ commercial distortions

IATA CEO says US, UK electronics bans creating ‘severe’ commercial distortions

Alexandre de Juniac called for governments to urgently find alternatives to the measures

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has criticised new measures banning passengers from carrying large electronics on US and UK flights from some Middle East and North African airports, saying they create “severe” commercial distortions.

The directives, which came into effect on Saturday, prevent passengers from bringing electronics larger than a smartphone in their carry-on luggage when flying to the US from Amman, Cairo, Kuwait City, Doha, Dubai, Istanbul, Abu Dhabi, Casablanca, Riyadh and Jeddah.

Read: Dubai passengers subject to US electronics ban until Oct – Emirates

The UK’s ban covers flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.

In a report released yesterday, IATA’s director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac called for governments to urgently find alternatives to the measures and said they were “not an acceptable long-term solution to whatever threat they are trying to mitigate”.

“Even in the short term it is difficult to understand their effectiveness. And the commercial distortions they create are severe. We call on governments to work with the industry to find a way to keep flying secure without separating passengers from their personal electronics,” he added.

The IATA CEO went on to criticise the implementation of the new measures “with no prior consultation and little coordination by governments” and said more cooperation was needed.

De Juniac said airlines and passengers were asking why the US and UK didn’t have a common list of airports, why electronics could not be screened and how laptops can be secure in the cabin on some flights and not others, including flights departing from the same airport.

“The current situation is not acceptable and will not maintain the all-important confidence of the industry or of travellers. We must find a better way. And governments must act quickly,” he said.

Among the airlines most affected by the new measures are Gulf carriers Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways, which moved this week to offer passengers loan devices and free Wi-Fi to mitigate the impact.

Read: Etihad offers first, business class passengers free wifi, iPads on US flights

Last week, Emirati social commentator Sultan Al Qassemi accused the US of seeking to stifle competition from Gulf carriers through the measure.

He said lucrative first and business class passengers would likely seek alternative airlines as a result.

Read: US accused of deliberately stifling Gulf airline competition with electronics ban

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