Etihad Airways has lauded the decision by the US Department of Homeland Security to lift the electronic devices ban on flights between Abu Dhabi and the United States.
In a brief statement, Etihad said that it welcomed the lifting of ban which was made “following the successful validation of security measures at the US Preclearance facility at Abu Dhabi airport (2 July 2017).”
“Effective immediately, the removal of the restrictions allows passengers flying to the US to carry all laptops, tablets, and other electronic devices onto the aircraft, subject to enhanced security measures… We would like to thank our guests for their understanding and loyalty while the ban was in place,” stated the airline.
All Etihad Airways guests travelling to US clear with US Immigration and Customs at the US Preclearance facility in Terminal 3 at Abu Dhabi International Airport, the only one of its kind in the Middle East. When guests land in the US, they arrive as domestic passengers with no requirement to queue for immigration and custom checks again.
Affecting 180 airlines and 280 airports, it is anticipated that Etihad Airways is one of the first airlines to be able to satisfy the short-term measures required by the Transportation Security Administration due to the superior security advantages provided by the preclearance facility.
In late May, Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi national carrier, moved to reassure passengers of its efforts to minimize disruption following the introduction of a new US travel directive on electronic devices through the ban on May 25.
When it was in force, the ban meant that passengers on all US-bound flights from, or transiting through, Abu Dhabi International Airport were not permitted to carry electronic devices bigger than a smart phone or mobile into the aircraft cabin. Items such as laptop computers, tablets including iPads, gaming devices, cameras and e-readers were to placed in checked-in luggage. Medical devices are however exempted from the new directive and can be carried on-board.
As a proactive measure, Etihad then sent out email alerts to all US-bound travellers advising them of the new directive. Signage was also placed at check-in desks at airports around the world where staff informed guests to pack any prohibited electronic devices in their checked luggage.
US-bound passengers travelling via Abu Dhabi were required to check-in their electronic devices at the point of origin.
Etihad Airways currently operates 45 flights a week between Abu Dhabi and six cities across the United States – including double daily to New York, daily to Washington, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles, and three-times-per-week to San Francisco.
The US is one of Etihad Airways’ largest markets, with 203,515 passengers flying to the US from Abu Dhabi between January 1 and April 30, 2017, translating to a rise of 13,157 passengers compared to the same period in 2016.