Turkish Airlines CEO, officials say US will lift laptop ban for Istanbul on July 5
ANKARA/ISTANBULTurkey’s transport minister and the Turkish Airlines chief executive have said they expect the ban on large electronic devices in the cabin of U.S.-bound flights from certain countries will be lifted on July 5.
Transport Minister Ahmet Arslan was quoted by state-run Anadolu Agency on July 4 as saying the ban would be lifted on July 5 following a visit by a U.S. delegation.
Its removal would come after Turkey began using highly sophisticated tomography devices for X-ray and ultrasound at Istanbul’s Atatürk International Airport, Arslan said.
U.S. officials are due to inspect the machines on July 5.
“With this confirmation mission, the ban will be lifted from Atatürk Airport and from Turkish Airlines,” Arslan stated.
Late on July 3, Turkish Airlines CEO Bilal Ekşi had also said on Twitter he expected the ban to be lifted on July 5.
“We expect the electronic device ban applied to American flights to be lifted on Wednesday July 5,” he tweeted without giving further details.
In an interview with private broadcaster NTV on July 2, Arslan had said security measures at Turkey’s airports met international standards.
“We have been in talks with both the U.S. and Britain regarding the issue. We have told them the security measures at our airports meet global standards. Following the laptop ban from these two countries, we had immediately ordered the required tomography devices, which are a must to meet their standards. A U.S. delegation will visit us next week,” he said.
The U.S. on July 2 lifted a ban on passengers taking such devices on Etihad Airways flights from its base in the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi, the first airliner to benefit from a lift of the ban.
The decision came after the airline implemented enhanced security measures, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said.
In March, the United States banned laptops in cabins on flights to the United States originating at 10 airports in eight countries - Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Turkey - to address fears that bombs could be concealed in electronic devices taken aboard aircraft.
Britain quickly followed suit with a similar set of restrictions.
Flag-carrier Turkish Airlines had responded to the ban by offering laptops to business-class travelers in May.