US laptop ban lifted on Qatar Airways

The Qatari airline has joined Etihad and Turkish Airlines on the exemption list.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

From Thursday, customers of Qatar Airways leaving Hamad International Airport will be able to take their electronic devices on board with them when travelling to the United States.

"Qatar Airways and Hamad International Airport have met with all requirements of the US Department of Homeland Security's new security guidelines, and we would like to express our thanks to the US and local authorities for their support during this process," the company said in a statement.

"We would also like to thank our loyal passengers for their understanding and patience while the ban has been in place."

Instituted in March, the laptop ban saw US authorities prevent passengers at particular airports bound for the United States from taking any electronic device larger than 16x9.3x1.5cm onto the plane with them. Passengers were instead required to pack devices into checked luggage, although smartphones and medical equipment were exempt.

Earlier this week, Etihad flights out of Abu Dhabi were exempted, which was followed by Turkish Airlines.

The ban had previously hit passengers from Muslim-majority nations in the Middle East and North Africa including Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.

Last week, US Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly said new enhanced security measures in airports would prevent expansion of the ban.

Kelly said airlines will be required to introduce enhanced screening of personal electronic devices, passengers, and test for explosives -- potentially through more swabbing and clothing checks -- for roughly 2,000 commercial flights arriving into the US on a daily basis from 280 airports in 105 countries. More canine searches and areas for interviews and secondary screening will also be required.

The United Kingdom followed the US ban in March with its own electronics ban on flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Tunisia.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in May said he was looking into implementing a similar laptop ban in Australia, but has yet to do so.

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