The US had on March 25 banned electronic devices larger than a mobile phone in passenger cabins of direct flights to the country from 10 airports in the Gulf, North Africa and Turkey, including Emirates, Etihad, Qatar and Turkish.
The decision to lift the ban on US-bound Etihad flights from Abu Dhabi came after the airline implemented enhanced security measures, said David Lapan, spokesman for the US Department of Homeland Security. It has taken place with immediate effect, after the Transport Security Administration (TSA) - part of the Department of Homeland Security - completed an "observation and verification session" this morning.
Following the decision, Etihad sent out emails to customers that read: "If you are planning to travel to the U.S.in the near future, we wanted to let you know that you can now take all your electronic devices on board our USA flights from Abu Dhabi".
The capital of the United Arab Emirates became the first city to be exempt from a USA ban on laptop computers being in airplane cabins, the country's flag carrier said yesterday.
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USA security officials are allowing passengers on flights from Abu Dhabi to the United States to carry their laptops and other electronics in airplane cabins.
Etihad Airways carries out about 45 flights each week between Abu Dhabi and six USA cities, and is the only arline with direct flights to the United States from Abu Dhabi. "Their efforts are a model for both foreign and domestic airlines looking to adopt the new measures". That airport already has a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility that allows passengers to clear screening they'd otherwise have to go through when landing in America.
Abu Dhabi International Airport did not respond to a request for comment.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly suggested in a May appearance on Fox News that the ban could be expanded to all global flights, but officials backed away from that proposal last week. Emirates, the long-haul carrier based in Dubai, has slashed 20 percent of its flights to America in the wake of those decisions.