Electronics ban affects passengers, air safety and aviation leaders

Passengers are now required to give in their electronics — except mobile phones — with their checked-in luggage on US-bound flights. - Alamy Image
Passengers are now required to give in their electronics - except mobile phones - with their checked-in luggage on US-bound flights. - Alamy Image

In March 2017, the US implemented an electronics ban on flights from 10 airports in the Middle East, including Dubai and Abu Dhabi.



By Sarwat Nasir

Published: Tue 11 Apr 2017, 8:00 PM

Last updated: Tue 11 Apr 2017, 10:42 PM

The Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) are still studying the electronics ban placed on US-bound flights from the emirate. However, relevant agencies will be in talks with the US as to why any of the countries made it on their list, the head of safety and regulation at DCAA, Michael Rudolph, said.
In March 2017, the US implemented an electronics ban on flights from 10 airports in the Middle East, including Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The UK introduced a similar ban; however, UAE was not on its list. Shortly after, Australia announced 'random explosives screenings' on passengers from Middle Eastern flights, with Dubai and Abu Dhabi on its list.
Passengers are now required to give in their electronics - except mobile phones - with their checked-in luggage on US-bound flights. But aviation experts have voiced concerns on placing lithium batteries in the cargo hold.
"They have reason to believe that it's a safety and security risk by allowing passengers from this region to the US and carry onboard the iPad or any other kind of electronic device larger than a phone. So, we are still in the exploratory stage. We still need to ascertain and investigate what the impact is and how long this ban is going to carry on or whether they want to lessen it or increase it. But we need to deal with that because they are our bilateral partners," Rudolph said.
"The directives came out and there were only six to seven days to implement it. A very short period of time, so we have to deal with that.
"From our perspective, we don't dictate or question any other country's safety or security protocol. If Australia says, for example, we're not going to ban them but we want extra security, that's their prerogative. The appropriate agencies will be deliberating with the agencies with the US to understand what the details were to allow for any country to be placed on that list."
Rudolph said that the authority will be exploring and identifying how to deal with the ban until it is in place. He said the authority is very new to the ban as such and all of the information needs to be stored into a report.
"During this period, we can now isolate and identify, for example, will having them (electronics) in the cargo pose a problem? We also have to think about the paying passengers. It all has to be prepared into a preliminary report and handed to the agencies. It's brand new for us; we've never had this before," he said.
The British Airways' director of safety and security, Tim Steeds, said that 'political influence' in aviation can create a safety risk. He said US and UK authorities did not take into consideration the hardships aviation leaders will face with the ban.
Speaking on stage at the Aviation Safety Summit, Steeds said: "There has been discussions around the security precautions that have been put in place, rightly or wrongly, by the Americans and the UK authorities. Have they thought of the ramifications of what they are asking us to do? I have an answer for that and the answer is no they haven't."
sarwat@khaleejtimes.com
 


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