In March we saw both the US and UK introduce electronics bans for flights from select Middle Eastern countries. Based on the fact that they were both introduced around the same time, they were presumably going off shared intelligence. Nonetheless, it’s interesting how the US and UK came to different conclusions. The US put flights from Qatar and the UAE on the list, while the UK didn’t.
The UK electronics ban applies for flights from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia.
Last last month the US announced new security requirements for US-bound flights, and as part of that, airports had the opportunity to get themselves removed from the electronics ban list. Over the course of a few weeks, the US electronics ban has been lifted for all airlines that were impacted it, meaning the US electronics ban is now over. That’s great news.
It looks like the UK is now also starting to reconsider their electronics ban. It has been announced that the UK electronics ban no longer applies for Turkish & Pegasus flights from Istanbul to the UK. As you can see, this doesn’t cover all airlines, and also doesn’t cover all airports in Turkey. Apparently these flights are subjected to “tough new security measures.” Interestingly British Airways hasn’t had the ban lifted for flights out of Istanbul.
Now you can enjoy your electronic devices in the flights to the United Kingdom. Have fun! pic.twitter.com/1ElM9hCiGs
— Turkish Airlines (@TurkishAirlines) July 28, 2017
As explained in the Independent, passengers on these flights will have to go through explosive trace detection tests and enhanced surveillance. This sounds similar to what’s being done for US-bound flights from countries formally impacted by the ban.
While not officially stated, it looks like the UK will be taking a similar approach to the US, and will be lifting these requirements on a case-by-case basis as airports become compliant with these new safety requirements.
However, it’s interesting how some airlines flying out of Istanbul have had the ban lifted, while others haven’t. Perhaps it has to do with the terminals out of which they fly, with some terminals not being set up yet for the new security requirements.
While I don’t for a second doubt the US and UK were going off very real intelligence when they decided to ban electronics from cabins, the execution was poorly thought out. Encouraging people to put potentially flammable electronics in a cargo hold (which could still be used by a terrorist to remotely detonate a bomb) can’t be the best solution. It seems like adding stricter security checks for these flights is a much better plan.
Here’s to hoping that the UK electronics ban is lifted for the remaining airports and airlines soon.