On Sunday, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it
has lifted the large electronics ban on US-bound non-stop flights
from Abu Dhabi International Airport in the United Arab Emirates.
The removal of restrictions placed
upon the airport in March is effective immediately.
This move comes days after Secretary of Homeland
Security John Kelly announced a series of sweeping new
airport security measures.
According to DHS spokesman David Lapan,
Abu Dhabi International Airport, home to Etihad Airways, was able
to quickly comply with the new security requirements.
“Etihad Airways & Abu Dhabi International Airport have
implemented the required initial enhanced security measures.
(Personal electronic device) restriction lifted,” Lapan announced on
Twitter. “Kudos to Etihad Airways for swift security changes.
Passengers will now be able to bring PEDs into the cabin of their
According to Etihad, the only airline with non-stop flights to
the US from Abu Dhabi, the ban was lifted after DHS officials
were able to validate the new security measures at the airline’s
Abu Dhabi along with Shannon and Dublin in Ireland are the only
airports outside of North America and the Caribbean to have a DHS
preclearance facility. That means passengers on Etihad flights to
the US are screened by DHS officials prior to boarding in Abu
Dhabi. So when they arrive at their destination in the US, the
passengers are treated the same as if they had been on a domestic
flight. The establishment of additional preclearance locations is
one of the key points in Secretary Kelly’s plan.
In a statement to Business Insider, Etihad wrote:
“We welcome the decision by the U.S. Department of Homeland
Security to lift the electronic devices ban on flights between
Abu Dhabi and the United States, following the successful
validation of security measures at the U.S. Preclearance facility
at Abu Dhabi airport earlier today (July 2, 2017). Effective
immediately, the removal of the restrictions allows passengers
flying to the U.S. to carry all laptops, tablets, and other
electronic devices onto the aircraft, subject to enhanced
security measures. We would like to thank our guests for their
understanding and loyalty while the ban was in place.”
While the laptop ban may be over for Abu Dhabi and Etihad, it is
still in force at nine airports in the Middle East and North
Africa — affecting eight major airlines including Emirates,
Turkish Airlines, and Qatar Airways.
The prohibition on all electronic devices larger than a mobile
phone came into effect in March after intelligence emerged
indicating terrorists are working on explosive devices capable of
masquerading as a laptop battery.