Istanbul Expected to Be Removed From Cabin Electronics Ban
The cabin electronics ban, which was lifted from Abu Dhabi (AUH) on Sunday, is also expected to be removed for flights to the US from Istanbul, Turkey (IST), as of this Wednesday, July 5, according to a tweet sent by Bilal Eksi, CEO of Turkish Airlines.
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) originally instituted the ban in March for flights to the US from 10 cities in eight countries over concerns about explosives being potentially hidden in small electronics such as laptop computers. In the weeks following, there were regular reports that the ban could be extended to airports across Europe as well. Last week, however, the agency rolled out enhanced screening procedures that, if implemented, would allow airports to avoid the ban or have it lifted from cities already in place.
A DHS spokesman concurred with Eksi's statement and confirmed that Turkish Airlines had alerted the agency that it was prepared to put the new procedures in place in order to have the ban lifted from its home base in Istanbul.
"TSA is scheduled to visit Turkish Airways in the coming days...ensuring the measures have been implemented correctly and to the full extent required," a Department of Homeland Security spokesman told CNN on Monday.
Istanbul is a major international hub and a key city for Turkish Airlines, the national flag carrier of Turkey and a member of the Star Alliance. The airline serves over 250 destinations from Istanbul, including nonstop flights to nine cities in the US: Boston (BOS), New York (JFK), Washington, DC (IAD), Atlanta (ATL), Miami (MIA), Chicago (ORD), Houston (IAH), San Francisco (SFO) and Los Angeles (LAX).
If the ban is lifted as expected, eight airports will remain on the electronics ban list for the time being, including hubs for Emirates and Qatar. Emirates says it is in talks with DHS regarding the enhanced security procedures at its base in Dubai (DXB) and hopes to have the ban removed from that airport "as soon as possible."