A trade association having representation of 265 airlines of the world, The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has slammed recent “laptop bans” implemented by the US and UK restricting the carry-on of electronic devices larger than phones on certain flights from the Middle East and North Africa.
IATA CEO and Director General Alexandre de Juniac warned the current plan is not viable in the long term.
“With the measures now in place, our passengers and member airlines are asking valid questions. Why don’t the US and the UK have a common list of airports? How can laptops be secure in the cabin on some flights and not others, including flights departing from the same airport? And surely there must be a way to screen electronic equipment effectively?” De Juniac said.
“The current situation is not acceptable and will not maintain the all-important confidence of the industry or of travellers. We must find a better way. And governments must act quickly.”
The IATA wasn’t finished there either and Mr. Juniac criticized the US and UK for implementing the bans without prior consultation stating that the IATA was also responsible for ensuring the safety of passengers, crews, and aircrafts.
Airlines are feeling the brunt of passenger frustration at the ban, which basically bans devices larger than smartphones from being carried in the cabin.
The US is not allowing items on board flights departing a number of Middle Eastern and North African countries whereas the UK’s ban is limited to Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Turkey.
It remains very unclear how long this ban will last as it relates to an unspecified terrorist threat and plenty of observers are worried its length will be indefinite, much like the one on liquids.
“Even in the short-term it is difficult to understand their effectiveness,” said de Juniac, adding that the laptop ban was detrimentally affecting air travel for thousands of people, and eroding public confidence in the security of the global aviation industry.
“Intelligence is king,” said de Juniac, “And it needs to be shared amongst governments and with the industry. It’s the only way to stop terrorists before they get near an airport, let alone aircraft.”