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US, UK ban on electronics in cabin not to affect Air India services

News Agencies | Updated on: 22 March 2017, 16:04 IST

Director-Finance of Air India Vinod Hejmadi on Wednesday said the recent ban imposed by the United States and United Kingdom on carriage of I-pads and Laptops will not affect the passengers of Air India who travel through four daily non-stop operations.

Hejmadi said the rule will not be applied on the passengers travelling through the national carrier from here through the non-stop flight to the four cities in United States viz New York, Newark, Chicago and San Francisco.

Apart from this, the ban will also be not applicable on the one-stop operations from Ahmedabad to Newark via London.

"Air India is closely watching the developments and the impact of the ban on the U.S. Routes. It is felt that the recent development will have a positive impact on Air India," said Hejmadi.

He also added that the ban may help Air India to improve their load factors in the premium segment i.e F and J class.

"The USP of the national carrier has been its non-stop operations to U.S. with the B777 aircraft and has been very popular with the Indian diaspora for its non-stop connectivity. The load factors of Air India on the U.S. routes have been consistently above 80%. Even the travel in F and J class has been very good," he said.

This statement came after news surfaced that of an al-Qaeda affiliate is perfecting the techniques for hiding explosives in batteries and battery compartments of electronic devices.

The intelligence received has led the United States and United Kingdom to ban devices larger than a cellphone from certain flights.

The new security restrictions, announced Tuesday, require airlines based in the Middle East and North Africa to prevent the people flying from eight countries from bringing any device bigger than a smartphone aboard their aircraft.

Instead, those electronics need to be stored in the cargo hold.

The US ban will affect more than 50 flights a day from 10 airports in the mainly Muslim countries including major hubs such as Dubai and Istanbul, according to senior administration officials. The nine affected airlines were notified of the procedures by the United States on Tuesday and they have been asked to comply within 96 hours.

The UK ban affects six countries including two not on the US list: Tunisia and Lebanon.

Top international carriers - such as Emirates Airline, Qatar Airways, British Airways and Turkish Airlines - are among those that will have to implement new restrictions.

The 10 international airports covered by the US ban are in Cairo, Egypt; Dubai and Abu Dhabi, UAE; Istanbul, Turkey; Doha, Qatar; Amman, Jordan; Kuwait City; Casablanca, Morocco; and Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The nine airlines are Egyptair, Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Turkish Airlines.

As of Tuesday, Emirates, Etihad and Royal Air Maroc had announced the implementation of new rules limiting what electronic devices can be carried on flights to the United States.


First published: 22 March 2017, 16:04 IST