The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called on governments to urgently find alternatives to recently announced measures by the United States and the United Kingdom to restrict the carry-on of large electronic items on certain flights departing the Middle East and North Africa.
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO, on Tuesday said that the current situation involving the new measures was “not acceptable” and would not maintain the all-important confidence of the industry or of travelers.
The measures, which prohibit passengers of flights departing the Middle East and North Africa to have any electronic devices larger than a mobile phone in the cabin with them, were put into effect on Saturday for safety reasons, according to London and Washington.
“The current measures are not an acceptable long-term solution to whatever threat they are trying to mitigate,” de Juniac said while giving a speech to the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations. “Even in the short term it is difficult to understand their effectiveness,” he said.
Referring to the severe commercial distortions the measures are expected to create, de Juniac called on governments to work with the industry to find a way to keep flying secure without separating passengers from their personal electronics.
IATA also expressed frustration at the process used by governments to put in place the security measures which was woefully lacking. “The industry came together quickly to implement the new requirements. That was a challenge because there was no prior consultation and little coordination by governments,” said de Juniac.
The US ban concerns flights of nine airlines that arrive from ten international airports located in Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco.
The UK’s ban affects flights arriving from or departing to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.