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When the electronics ban first took effect in March, the impacted Middle Eastern and African airlines were surely taken by surprise. And, the immediate effect for at least Emirates was as one might expect: costly. Last month, the Dubai-based carrier announced it would be cutting frequencies to several of its US destinations, including New York (JFK), Orlando (MCO), Boston (BOS), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Seattle (SEA) and Los Angeles (LAX). To make matters worse, the carrier announced that its profits fell by more than 80% last year.
In the two months since the electronics ban was first announced and implemented, airlines (including Emirates) have had the chance to react and alter their strategies. At the Paris Air Show this week, the carrier said that it’s seen a recovery in US demand since the original announcement of an electronics ban. In fact, demand has been up enough that it’s restored its daily service to Orlando (MCO), which it cut from daily service to 5x per week in May.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Tim Clark, the president of Emirates, said that he recently visited Washington, D.C. to discuss the electronics ban with US officials. Clark told the security officials that Dubai’s airport (DXB) has advanced security facilities already in place, but it’s willing to make any upgrades necessary in order to get the electronics ban lifted. In addition, Clark told the officials that they could oversee the processes in Dubai as an extra security effort.
“They were hugely sympathetic to the problems it is giving us,” Clark said of the meeting. He also said that he was optimistic that the US would issue guidelines for the affected airports on what security measures they would need to implement in order for the US to lift the ban.
Emirates isn’t the only Middle Eastern or African carrier to express this kind of optimism. Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said that he invited US officials to audit the carrier’s Doha (DOH) hub. According to Reuters, Al Baker said that the carrier hasn’t seen a huge impact as a result of the electronics ban, and an average of 10-15 devices were being handed in from passengers per flight.
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Department of Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke traveled to Malta last week to share possible extra security measures with their European counterparts — moves that would lift the electronics ban for the affected airlines. The list included improved information exchange, random testing for explosives and implementing more advanced screening devices.
See these posts for more on the 2017 Paris Air Show:
- First Look: Qatar Airways Qsuite Business Class
- Inside Airbus’ (Empty) A380plus Double-Decker Airliner
- Paris Air Show (hub page)
Featured image courtesy of Emirates.
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