- Qatar Airways announces approval from Homeland Security for passengers to carry laptops in the cabin on flights to the U.S.
- It is the fourth airline to be granted exemption, after restrictions on Emirates, Turkish Airlines and Etihad Airlines were lifted
- Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco and Kuwait are yet to announce the ban has been lifted at their airports
Qatar Airways became the fourth airline in the Middle East to announce it would be exempt from measures banning laptops and other large electronic devices in the cabin on U.S. flights.
The airline announced that passengers flying to the U.S. would be exempt from the laptop ban on Thursday. It follows announcements from Emirates, Turkish Airlines and Etihad Airlines that the U.S. had lifted restrictions on passengers carrying such devices on U.S.-bound flights.
Donald Trump's administration introduced the ban in March, barring the carrying of laptops on flights to the U.S. from the airports of eight countries – Qatar, Egypt, Morocco the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Turkey and Jordan. The ban was imposed over fears that explosives could be concealed in the devices.
"We are pleased to announce that the electronics ban has been lifted from Qatar Airways flights departing to all destinations in the U.S. Safety and security are always our highest priority," the CEO of Qatar Airways Akbar Al Baker said on Thursday. "They are expressed throughout all of our corporate values, and must never be compromised."
He added: "The security measures in place in Doha allow us to continue to provide our renowned world-class service for all our passengers travelling to the U.S. We look forward to providing our passengers an even greater choice of U.S. destinations soon, with the addition of San Francisco to our expanding network, on board the most modern of aircraft including the Airbus A350 and our Qsuite retro-fitted Boeing 777 aircraft."
The airline said the exemption came at the approval of the Department of Homeland Security, and that U.S. officials inspected the security measures in full operation at Qatar's Hamad International Airport.
Other airlines are still yet to be approved for exemption from the laptop ban. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco and Kuwait are yet to announce the ban has been lifted at their airports.
Saudia (Saudia Arabian Airlines) said on Tuesday that it hopes to be granted exemption from the ban on July 19.