Turkish Airlines mulls measures to avoid potential losses from laptop ban
REUTERS photoTurkish Airlines is set to take a number of steps to avoid potential losses from a U.S. and U.K. ban preventing passengers from keeping large electronic devices in the cabin, announcing plans to offer special storage and carriage services for the devices, the company’s chief said March 24.
The company has also accelerated its works to offer free Wi-Fi services during flights, according to company representatives.
“When our passengers are boarding the plane, their electronic devices will be taken by authorized staff and put into special baggage after being wrapped in a foam case. We ensure that our passengers’ devices will not be harmed or lost,” Turkish Airlines CEO Bilal Ekşi told Anadolu Agency.
Turkish Airlines also said March 24 that it would offer uninterrupted internet connection during flights starting in April.
Through a new app called “eXPhone,” passengers on Boeing 777 and Airbus 330 planes will be able to check emails, update social media accounts and send and receive text messages, Anadolu Agency reported.
The app will be accessible after the plane takes off.
Passengers will be charged for the use of the “eXPhone” according to respective service operators’ roaming tariffs.
The company has accelerated its works to offer free Wi-Fi services in cabins after the ban, Reuters reported March 24.
Ekşi, however, noted that they were very aware that the potential losses of the ban could not be averted by offering free Wi-Fi or tablets.
“We can consider these measures as well, but these will not lead to any permanent solution, as many people do not want to share their personal data on other electronic devices due to data security concerns,” he added.
Turkish Airlines carried 1.45 million passengers to the United States in 2016 and 834,359 passengers to the United Kingdom, according to Reuters.
In the first two months of this year, THY brought 156,542 passengers to the U.S. and 104,627 to the U.K.
The U.S. and British decisions to forbid devices larger than a cellphone in the cabin on flights from several Middle East and North African states could hit Istanbul hard, after years building up its position as an international hub.
Inclusion of Turkish Airlines, Istanbul airport ‘shocking’
Ekşi said the U.S. and U.K. decisions were shocking for them, adding that there were commercial reasons behind them.
“With deep sorrow I accept these decisions, for which safety and security reasons were voiced but the main reasons were commercial,” he added.
The inclusion of Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport was a big surprise, he said.
“An authorized security services company is on duty there. The company staff has already searched all goods carried by airline personnel and passengers thoroughly. Despite this and all other security measures, we were shocked when we saw Atatürk Airport was on the ban list. We believe that this decision will be reversed soon,” added Ekşi.
TAV CEO Sani Şener said March 24 that the U.S. and U.K. decisions were mainly commercial.
“This ban will be canceled, we believe,” he said in a meeting in the northwestern province of Bursa.
Turkey is negotiating with international aviation authorities on easing the conditions of the ban, Turkish Transportation Minister Ahmet Arslan said March 24.
“[To convince] these countries to reverse this decision, we have maintained our efforts to take additional technical measures if needed,” he said, adding that Ankara would raise the ban to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).