EMIRATES AIRLINE has confirmed that the cabin ban placed on laptops and tablets will no longer apply to its flights to the United States.
This isn't the end of the laptop ban, but will come as something as a surprise given that it was only in the last couple of weeks that the discussion was about widening the ban, not softening it.
Since March, the US banned larger electronic devices from being allowed in the cabin of aeroplanes travelling to the US from eight "mostly Muslim" countries.
The decision was made based on intelligence which suggested that there was a tangible risk of bombs being hidden within electronic devices being taken aboard flights to the US to inflict loss of life on passengers.
The lifting of the ban comes from direct intervention by Emirates, who is said to have worked closely with US officials to meet security guidelines set out by officials.
The move will be a huge relief to Emirates, whose main hub is in Dubai, one of the airports affected by the ban, meaning that passengers who have no intention of leaving or entering the airport there are subject to up to 24 hours without devices.
The ban was lifted from Abu Dhabi flights operated by Etihad last Sunday, and according to the BBC, Turkish Airlines believes that it too will soon be free of restrictions.
The US has tightened restrictions further to allow this to happen, with the use of sniffer dogs at 105 airports and enhanced screening of persons and their gadgets at the airport.
Airlines have 120 days to comply or risk being banned from flying routes to the US altogether.
The UK has issued similar guidelines to six countries, but this did not affect Emirates or Ethiad to the same extent.
There has been debate within the industry as to whether putting electronics in the hold is safer, because although it would stop the immediate threat to passengers, a "chain reaction" of batteries could lead to the plane disintegrating much faster anyway. µ
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