Airline industry body IATA brands laptop ban ineffective and warns it will cause "commercial distortions"

Rebecca Smith
Emirates has introduced a laptop handling service to minimise disruption for its customers
Emirates has introduced a laptop handling service to minimise disruption for its customers (Source: Getty)

The laptop cabin ban brought in by the US and UK on some flights won't be effective as a security measure, the boss of industry body the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned.

In a speech today at the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations, IATA chief executive Alexandre de Juniac said the ban also creates "commercial distortions".

Read more: Laptop ban on flights must come into force by Saturday, government says

He said:

The current measures are not an acceptable long-term solution to whatever threat they are trying to mitigate. Even in the short-term, it is difficult to understand their effectiveness.

And the commercial distortions they create are severe.

We call on governments to work with the industry to find a way to keep flying secure without separating passengers from their personal electronics.

De Juniac questioned why the US and UK don't have a common list of airports and how laptops could be secure in the cabin on some flights and not others, especially those originating at a common airport.

He added that despite there being "no consultation and little coordination" from governments, the aviation industry "came together quickly" to implement the new requirements.

The US ban was brought in as an anti-terrorist measure, and covers inbound flights on airlines operating out of 10 airports in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.

The British ban is similar but affects different airlines, including some UK carriers such as EasyJet and British Airways. Passengers on 14 airlines come under the ban covering inbound direct flights from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

De Juniac said one of the biggest global challenges for the aviation industry was security and it was "a real challenge" to keep flying secure.

"While governments have the primary responsibility for security, keeping passengers, crew and aircraft secure is a common priority with industry," he said. "To do that effectively information, or intelligence, is king. And it needs to be shared among governments and with the industry. It’s the only way to stop terrorists before they get anywhere near an airport or aircraft."

Read more: Emirates has found a way to minimise disruption caused by the laptop ban

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