U.S. lifts electronics ban on Etihad Airways flights from Abu Dhabi, UAE

Passengers check into a flight at Abu Dhabi International Airport. On Wednesday morning travellers bound for the US were allowed to carry their electronic devices after the ban was lifted. Jon Gambrell  AP

U.S. lifts electronics ban on Etihad Airways flights from Abu Dhabi, UAE

The US-imposed restrictions affected flights to and from 10 airports in eight majority-Muslim countries, and were prompted by fears that larger devices could be used to hide bombs.

Since March, the government had prohibited passengers from carrying electronic devices larger than mobile phones on direct US-bound flights travelling from ten airports in Turkey, North Africa and the Middle East.

Etihad Airways now operates 45 flights a week between Abu Dhabi and six cities across the United States - including double daily to NY, daily to Washington, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles, and three-times-per-week to San Francisco.

Both Dubai-based Emirates and Turkish Airlines in Istanbul will host American officials to show they have complied with measures to be exempted from the ban as well, said David Lapan, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security.

TSA officials have assessed the airport's security arrangements for flights to the United States and are satisfied with their implementation.

Etihad Aviation Group applauded the decision.

The airline said its plan to conduct "enhanced inspections" of passengers had convinced the USA to lift its restrictions.

Last week, the USA government imposed broad new demands for increased airport security on flights to America from other countries in an attempt to combat the threat of terrorists hiding bombs in laptops.

The Department of Homeland Security announced over the weekend that Etihad would no longer be included in the ban after the airline implemented enhanced security measures at its core hub airport in Abu Dhabi.

"We would like to thank our guests for their understanding and loyalty while the ban was in place.s" it continued to say.

The measures, which will apply to an average of 325,000 passengers a day flying to the U.S. from 280 airports in 105 countries, will include enhanced screening of electronic devices, more thorough vetting of passengers, increased use of bomb-sniffing dogs and measures to mitigate the potential threat posed by insider attacks.

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