Homeland Security this morning removed two more airports from it’s ‘Laptop Ban’ list.
Going forward, Passengers flying on Emirates or Turkish or on other carriers flying from Dubai or Istanbul to the USA will no longer have to check their Laptops. This comes after Homeland Security confirmed that heighten screening of electronics devices is in place at airports in Dubai and Istanbul (Ataturk).
The announcement come three days after restrictions were lifted on Etihad Airways’ hub Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Due to the ban, Emirates had reduced capacity by 20%, so it seems likely that they will now bring that capacity back to their 12 US destinations.
This now brings the list of ‘Banned’ airports to 7. Cairo, Casablanca, Riyadh, Jeddah, Doha, Amman, and Kuwait City remain on the list. Abu Dhabi was removed late last week, allowing Etihad passengers to once again bring their laptops aboard their US bound flights.
It shouldn’t be too long before all 7 are compliant and the ban disappears altogether.
During testimony in Washington DC yesterday, Homeland Security boss John Kelly signaled that he is prepared to expand the current Electronics Ban to include 71 airports around the world.
His premise for this threat stems from these 71 airports not meeting the screening standards that are expected of them by US security officials. He declined to say which 71 airports he was referring to.
This list of 71 would most like include the 10 that are already on the list that prevents passengers from boarding with electronics larger than a typical smartphone.
He did say that any airport on the ‘banned list’ would have the opportunity to have itself removed if it upgraded its screening process to the level required by US Homeland Security.
For now, he did not indicated if, or when this extension would be put in place.
With all this said, it appears that Homeland Security may be softening its tone about the ban. As little as 2 weeks ago, rumors started swirling that the ban would even affect flights departing the USA. But in hearing Kelly’s comments yesterday, it appears that an airport may be exempt from a ban if it screens electronics ‘appropriately’. I suspect that most if not all US airports have the ability to appropriately screen electronics, so I’m hopeful that the ban may not be an ‘all or none’ proposition.
Brussels Airlines has announced plans to retire the majority of their existing A330 aircraft and replace them with brand new A330s as it seeks to update its fleet. According to their strategy, 7 of their 10 A330s will be swapped for new ones during 2018 and 2019.
What makes this an even bigger deal is the fact that along with the new aircraft,’SN’ will introduce an entirely new cabin interior. Business Class, Economy Privilege, and Economy will all receive substantial facelifts.
Though specifics have not yet been decided upon, I suspect the new cabin interiors will be in line with the new cabins that will be introduced by Lufthansa, SWISS, and Austrian beginning in 2018. LH Group had previously stated that they have the desire to create a standardized cabin across the Group’s airlines. With Brussels now being a wholly owned division of LH Group, it stands to reason that Brussels Airlines will benefit from the strategy.
I look forward to seeing what ‘SN’ comes up with when the new birds begin joining the fleet. I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing their wonderful Business Class product and am curious how they’ll make it even better!