Etihad Airways, the global carrier of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), said on Sunday the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has lifted a ban on carrying electronic devices, including laptops, onboard flights between the UAE capital Abu Dhabi and the U.S.
Long-haul airline Etihad said it welcomed Homeland Security's decision, which comes "subject to enhanced security measures" at Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Etihad did not elaborate on what additional security measures passengers would face to be allowed to have their laptops, tablets and other electronics with them on their flights.
The "laptop ban", as it has become widely known, was imposed by the United States government in March on the grounds of "innovative methods" being used by terrorists.
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Etihad Airways welcomed the decision, and credited a preclearance facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport where passengers clear USA immigration before they land in the United States for "superior security advantages" that had allowed it to satisfy U.S. requirements.
Etihad passengers clear U.S. Customs at the Abu Dhabi airport, in the only facility of its kind operated by the U.S. Customs and Boarder Patrol in the Middle East. "[Personal electronic devices] restriction lifted", Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan said on Twitter. "Their efforts are a model for both foreign and domestic airlines looking to adopt the new measures". The airline operates 45 flights each week between Abu Dhabi - the capital of the United Arab Emirates - and the United States.
1/2 Etihad Airways & Abu Dhabi In'tl Airport have implemented the required initial enhanced security measures.
The US laptop ban was announced in March and now applies to nine global airports in the Middle East: Amman, Kuwait City, Cairo, Istanbul, Jeddah, Riyadh, Casablanca, Doha and Dubai.
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The laptop ban, as well as a Trump administration travel ban on six predominantly Muslim nations, has hurt Gulf long-haul carriers.
Dubai International Airport, Emirates' home, is the world's busiest international air travel hub.
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