Australia and New Zealand have had different responses to the electronics ban affecting flights from Dubai…
You know how you can no longer take your laptop, e-reader, tablet or camera onto a plane flying directly from the UAE to the US? Well, the Australian government has also updated their security on flights from the UAE to Australia.
But unlike the US government, the Australians will still allow people to take their electronic devices onto the plane, the only difference is that there will now be random explosive detection tests on devices at the boarding gates.
These tests will run for all flights from Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi to Australia – affecting Emirates, Qantas, Etihad and Qatar Airways. It is said they will begin on Thursday April 6.
Australia’s Transport Minister, Darren Chester, said there was no specific threat to Australia and that the extra checks were just a precautionary measure in response to the action taken by the British and American authorities.
Interestingly, Australia has said these checks will only be in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar, while the US ban extends to eight Muslim-majority countries.
Australian carrier Qantas has had this to say about the change: “In line with updated Australian Government requirements, Qantas will implement additional screening of passengers flying from the UAE (Dubai) to Australia. This involves using a similar random explosive trace detection test already used at major Australian airports. This will apply to passengers travelling on QF2 (Dubai-Sydney) and QF10 (Dubai-Melbourne) only.”
One thing’s for certain, the Australian approach will be far less commercially disruptive than the blanket ban put on GCC airlines by the Americans.
There are many who believe that the US approach was a move to bolster US airline business: a story in The Intercept states that US airlines met with Trump earlier this year and asked him to punish State-owned Gulf airlines, which they see as being a big drain on their business.
Meanwhile, New Zealand authorities have said they have no plans to follow Australia and ramp up security checks. The Civil Aviation Authority of NZ shared this information with Radio New Zealand, saying they have no plans to follow Australia’s suit. So that means it’s business as usual for the Emirates and Qatar flights to Auckland and Christchurch.
Dubai-based airline Emirates has revealed it has yet another solution up its sleeve after passengers have been banned from taking laptops on as hand-luggage on their flights to the US until October.
In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Emirates president Tim Clark said the airline will look at exploring “creative” ways to work around the ban if it remains in place over the long term.
He said one of these could include loaning passengers government-approved laptops that “can be used in-flight to help people do what they need to do in the absence of devices that are in the hold”.
Clark also criticised the ban’s selective targeting of Middle Eastern carriers. He made the point that if laptops were a terror concern, the ban “should be applied to the airline industry universally”.
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