TravelTek

Published on Tuesday, November 14, 2017

IATA says lessons must be learned from in-cabin laptop ban



The boss of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said urgent lessons must be learned from the implementation of in-cabin laptops earlier this year, claiming the move damaged flyer confidence and was expensive for carriers.


IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said passengers were left confused and airlines suffered 'huge financial impact' when the US, then the UK, banned laptops and tablets without any warning or consultation with airlines.

Speaking at IATA's annual security AVSEC World Conference in Abu Dhabi, he said: "As we all know, in March of this year, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) banned large portable electronic devices — laptops and tablets — in the cabin of aircraft departing from several airports in the Middle East and North Africa bound for the US.


"Shortly thereafter, the UK issued similar restrictions but for different airports.


"We trust that these measures were guided by reliable intelligence requiring urgent action.  Unfortunately, they were imposed unilaterally; and without prior warning or consultation with industry.


"All affected airlines did their very best to operationalise the restrictions under difficult circumstances — reflecting our commitment to security. But the financial impact was significant.


"Passenger confidence was also impacted. How could they have faith in the logic of the global security system when passengers boarding a flight from the UAE direct for the US had to check in their PEDs, while those going via London could keep theirs with them?"


De Juniac said airlines are being required to take on some of the roles of government authorities and criticised lack of information sharing.


"Security is a government responsibility [but] too often airlines end up footing the bill or somehow doing what should be agreed in state-to-state discussions."


He added: "The PED episode also illustrated the importance of information sharing — and the degree to which it is still not done effectively among governments, let alone with industry.


"A few years earlier — and in a completely different and much more tragic context — the potential consequences of failing to share information came into sharp focus with the loss of 298 innocent people aboard Malaysia Airlines flight 17."


The latest IATA's annual Global Passenger Survey highlights that passengers are frustrated with security and border control processes and are willing to share information if it makes these processes easier.


"We are eager to work with governments to establish a government-industry partnership platform for the exchange of threat/risk information, during times of crisis.


"We have a task that is bigger than any one company, government or institution can achieve. We are here to work together to protect the Business of Freedom," he concluded.

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