Laptop ban 'mystery': Why did the U.S. as well as also U.K. choose different countries

Emirates airline president questions electronics ban

The U.S. as well as also U.K. governments stunned the earth This particular week by declaring passengers could be forbidden via carrying many electronic devices aboard flights via airports across the Middle East as well as also North Africa.

The sudden moves, attributed to fears terrorists could plant explosives in devices bigger than a smartphone, left airlines scrambling as well as also travelers confused about what to do with their laptops as well as also tablets.

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One of the biggest unanswered questions will be why the U.S. ban covers several countries that will the U.K. ban doesn’t. Four countries included within the U.S. list — the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait as well as also Morocco — are absent via the U.K. restrictions.

The difference will be “a mystery,” said Tim Clark, the president of Emirates Airline, who adds that will its security practices have generally received high marks via additional countries. The company’s Dubai International base within the UAE will be one of the busiest airports on the planet.

“that will seems that will the British government regards our secondary screening methodologies as best in class, particularly as they have audited our procedures as well as also security training on an ongoing basis,” he told sy88pgw by email. The Department of “Homeland Security as well as also TSA also regard our procedures as excellent as well as also we have coordinated as well as also worked with them since we began flying to the U.S. in 2004.”

uk us electronics ban table

A flyer, for example, can depart Houston (a common Emirates destination for oil executives) for Dubai, laptop in hand. nevertheless on the return leg — all 16 hours as well as also 15 minutes of that will — that will same laptop has to ride within the belly of a Boeing 777.

The same traveler, however, could instead fly to London with Emirates as well as also switch to a U.S. or U.K. airline back home across the Atlantic as well as also avoid these brand new electronics restrictions.

U.S. as well as also British officials say they acted individually within the best interests of their citizens.

“Each country makes decisions based on a variety of criteria as well as also considerations, via political to diplomatic to economic to security as well as also others,” said David Lapan, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for DHS on Friday.

“Our decision to implement additional security procedures at selected airports was based on our assessment of the threat environment as well as also our mission to protect air travelers via the threat of terrorism,” he added.

nevertheless some powerful voices within the Gulf believe that will the U.S. put the UAE as well as also Qatar on the U.S. list to protect U.S. airlines.

“There will be no doubt that will a significant reason behind the electronic ban will be to stifle competition via Gulf airlines, as well as also to encourage U.S. bound passengers to fly on American carriers,” wrote Sultan Al Qassemi, a prominent Emirati commentator, in an article for the Middle East Institute This particular week.

DHS has denied that will protectionism had anything to do with the ban.

Dubai Airports chief executive Paul Griffiths said the UAE has stepped up security checks at the request of the U.K. government, which stopped short of a full ban like the U.S.

Emirates will be one of a trio of rapidly expanding Middle Eastern carriers known as the ME3. The additional two are Etihad Airways in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the U.A.E., as well as also Qatar Airways. Each airline will be an arm of their respective government, supported with billions of dollars in funds as well as also given every advantage in their home bases.

Related: Laptop ban may force business travelers to skip Middle East hubs

They also enjoy unfettered access to flying to the U.S., just as U.S. airlines do to Qatar as well as also the U.A.E. through Open Skies treaties. The ME3 carriers have exploited their position at the crossroads of Europe, Africa as well as also Asia to act as one particular stop between almost any two major points on the planet.

Their aggressive moves include opening up two transatlantic routes via Dubai which stop through Milan as well as also Athens to brand new York. that will has upset the big U.S. carriers who say the subsidized carriers are exploiting agreements to steal passengers who could otherwise cross the Atlantic on their airlines.

Delta Air Lines (DAL), United Airlines (UAL) as well as also American Airlines (AAL) have renewed a push for the State Department to review the Open Skies treaties to determine if the state support enjoyed by the ME3 creates an unfair advantage.

dubai list

nevertheless have corporate jockeying as well as also politics crossed over into the realm of security policy? The discrepancy between the U.S. as well as also U.K. bans has experts demanding answers.

“Assuming there will be dangerous brand new technology, a terrorist could just as easily inflict damage when flying to the US or the UK via any airport anywhere within the earth — including Europe or even within the US or UK — not just those within the Middle East,” wrote Greeley Koch, executive director of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives in a statement.

“Answers are needed right now. Without further explanation,” he said, “these brand new restrictions will only breed skepticism of the government’s perception of business travel.”

Related: Airlines poke fun at laptop ban on social media

One senior U.S. aviation official said the ban’s targets were not chosen for political reasons as well as also that will the DHS as well as also TSA officials implementing the brand new restrictions are career personnel with little awareness of, or regard for, the fierce competition between international airlines.

John Cohen a former counterterrorism coordinator for the Department of Homeland Security, said on NPR on Thursday that will imposing brand new security restrictions on the ME3 for political reasons could be a “grotesque abuse of authority.”

He pointed to a lack of communication as well as also nagging distrust of information via the Trump Administration as contributing to the confusion.

However, one U.S. congressman suggested the discrepancy may lie with the U.K. that will placed restrictions on six nations, four of which are on the U.S. list.

“We can’t dictate what our foreign partners do,” said Rep. John Katko of brand new York, who was briefed on the ban. “All we can do will be share the facts with them.”

U.K. Transport Minister Chris Grayling said Wednesday said that will reserved the right differ with the U.S.

“The U.S. Administration will take decisions about how they should best protect their citizens. We do not always have to take exactly the same decisions on behalf of both our countries. We have done what we think will be right for the United Kingdom.”

— Rene Marsh, David Wilkinson as well as also John Defterios contributed to This particular report.

sy88pgw (Seattle) First published March 25, 2017: 9:39 AM ET

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Laptop ban 'mystery': Why did the U.S. as well as also U.K. choose different countries

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