Dubai: Emirates Airline is scurrying to ensure its operations will comply with the ban on large electronics aboard US-bound flights, a move which it referred to as disruptive and operationally challenging.
The largest carrier in the Middle East, which runs 18 flights to 12 American destinations daily, will beef up manpower at Dubai International to assist passengers, especially during the first days of the new rules taking effect.
The airline is also looking at contingency measures to minimise the impact of the widespread directive on customer experience, such as letting passengers use their laptops beyond security gates.
“This new security measure is disruptive and operationally challenging in several regards, but I am optimistic we will get through this,” Tim Clark, president at Emirates Airline, said in a statement sent to Gulf News.
The United States announced on Tuesday that passengers aboard incoming flights from ten Muslim-majority countries will be barred from carrying laptops, iPads, DSLR cameras and other devices in aircraft cabins.
The ban will take effect on Saturday, March 25 until October 14 this year and affect people flying direct to the United States from Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the UAE, Amman, Jordan; Cairo; Istanbul; Jeddah and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia; Kuwait City; Casablanca, Morocco and Doha, Qatar. The United Kingdom also announced a similar ban affecting flights from some airports in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt and Jordan.
Emirates had said it was informed about the ban only on Tuesday, leaving them a very small window to prepare for the new regulations. However, they are working to ensure disruption to passenger flow and impact on customer experience is minimised.
“We are informing affected customers and coordinating with the various airport stakeholders,” Clark said.
“Emirates will deploy extra staff at the airport to ease and assist passengers, especially in the first days of the new rules taking effect. Our aim is to ensure compliance with the new rules, while minimising disruption.”
The airline is working on a solution that will enable passengers to have access to their laptops and other devices until they are just about to board the plane.
This will lessen the inconvenience among flyers, particularly those who are on a business trip and need to work on their personal laptops. “We are working on a solution that will enable our passengers to utilise their electronic devices to the last possible moment – whereby they hand their laptops or tablets into our care just before boarding,” Clark said.
“These will then be stowed in the cargo hold and returned to the passengers when the flight lands in the US. It will mean our passengers, particularly those travelling in the premium cabins or flying for business, can still work on their devices while enjoying our lounges at Dubai airport.”