Saturday, October 21, 2017, 1:37 am

Impact of US, UK electronics ban to be assessed at World Aviation Safety Summit

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DUBAI: The impact of the US and UK bans on electronics from Muslim-majority countries will be cross examined at the fifth edition of the World Aviation Safety Summit, which will be held on11 and 12 April in Dubai. Industry leaders will debate how these bans will impact the industry and what should be the best way to deal with such significant changes from both airlines and passengers.

The United States and United Kingdom have announced that laptops, e-readers and almost any other electronic device that is not a phone will be banned from cabin luggage on some flights.

The US rule applies to 10 airports, the UK to six – including Turkey and middle-eastern countries – starting from 25 March 2017.

The ban will cause particular issues for frequent flyers in the region, who will now have to check a bag if they’re travelling with one of the banned devices and may have to endure long flights without access to their laptops or tablets.

A statement issued by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) stressed a balance between security risk and safety concerns, because incidents involving devices containing lithium batteries may be more easily mitigated in the cabin than in checked baggage.

In 2016, ICAO announced a prohibition on shipments of lithium-ion batteries as cargo on passenger planes. Industry experts are now working to develop new and improved packaging standards that could be used to safely transport these batteries on planes.

“Of course, the safety of passengers is paramount, but there must be concerns about exchanging one risk with another,” said conference chairman, industry analyst Alan Peaford. “The Summit provides an ideal opportunity for the key industry stakeholders to discuss the challenge of finding the best solution to reduce overall risk.”

The ban has been described as disruptive and operationally challenging according to Emirates President Tim Clark. The state-owned carrier is planning to permit devices affected by the ban within the security perimeter to allow passengers, particularly those flying in premium seats, to use laptops and tablets until the last possible moment.

Nick Webb, Managing Partner at Streamline Marketing Group, the event organisers, commented: “The World Aviation Safety Summit will examine the impact of the electronics ban and how safety and security must always be made a priority. The rapidly changing nature of aviation creates fascinating debates and we are looking forward to welcoming the world’s experts to discuss the best possible solutions for the future.” 

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