In March, US officials imposed restrictions on passengers carrying laptops and other large electronic gear in cabins on nine airlines, most of which were Middle Eastern carriers, to address the potential threat of hidden explosives.
An airline official briefed on the matter said the directive gave airlines more flexibility and additional time to obtain explosive trace detection equipment.
The new requirements include enhanced passenger screening at foreign airports, increased security protocols around aircraft and in passenger areas and expanded canine screening. They affect 325,000 airline passengers on about 2,000 commercial flights arriving daily in the United States, on 180 airlines from 280 airports in 105 countries.
TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein defended the new security requirements unveiled in June that were aimed at avoiding expansion of the laptop ban. She said the agency has been working with airlines for months to keep them informed on security issues.
The International Air Transport Association reported that the portable electronics ban may have been affecting US-bound traffic from the Middle East. The route-level data from March (the most recent month available) show that RPKs (Revenue Passenger Kilometres measures actual passenger traffic) flown by Middle East airlines to the US fell in year-on-year terms by 2.8 per cent for the month. This was the first annual decline recorded for this market in at least seven years.
While traffic growth on the market segment already was slowing, the decline is consistent with some disruption from the portable electronic devices ban that was announced on March 21, as well as a wider impact on inbound travel to the US from the Trump Administration’s proposed travel bans.
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
Published monthly by Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group, the region’s foremost trade publisher, TTN is aimed at professionals in the industry, from travel agents to airline and hotel personnel.
TTN provides in-depth and extensive coverage of relevant issues in the Middle East and North Africa as well as in other parts of the world. Travel related news, analysis, and new appointments together with information on up-coming exhibitions, marketing and promotional campaigns are presented in an innovative and striking colour tabloid.
Every issue also contains a collation of international and regional news and topical features of interest to readers.