IATA question US, UK over electronics ban on board aircraft

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Alexandre de Juniac

International Air Transport Association (IATA) has slammed the restrictions on electronics in flights by the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK), describing them as unacceptable, and questioned their effectiveness.

Its Director-General, Alexandre de Juniac, said the UK and US authorities should work with the airline industry to “find a way to keep flying secure” without requiring passengers on certain flights to check in their electronic devices.

“The current measures are not an acceptable long term solution to whatever threa t they are trying to mitigate. Even in the short term it is difficult to understand their effectiveness,” said, de Juniac during a speech to the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations last week.

He pointed out the differences between the airports under the US and UK governments’ electronics ban: “Why don’t the US and the UK have a common list of airports? How can laptops be secure in the cabin on some flights and not others, including flights departing from the same airport?”

The US restrictions, announced on March 21 ,2017, forbid passengers on US-bound flights departing 10 African and Middle Eastern airports from carrying on-board most electronic devices that are larger than a mobile phone.

UK regulators followed suit shortly after, but its list of restricted airports notably excluded major hubs like Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha.

“The current situation is not acceptable and will not maintain the all-important confidence of the industry or of travelers. We must find a better way,” said de Juniac.

He said while affected airlines worked quickly to implement the new security restrictions, the industry was not involved in prior discussions with authorities.

“There was no prior consultation and little coordination by governments,” said de Juniac.

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