Civil Aviation

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IATA criticizes U.S., U.K. bans on electronic devices

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is calling on governments to urgently find alternatives to recently announced measures by the U.S. and the U.K. to restrict the carry-on of large electronic items on certain flights departing the Middle East and North Africa. 

“The current measures are not an acceptable long-term solution to whatever threat they are trying to mitigate. Even in the short term it is difficult to understand their effectiveness. And the commercial distortions they create are severe. We call on governments to work with the industry to find a way to keep flying secure without separating passengers from their personal electronics,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO

De Juniac made this demand in a speech to the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations in which he highlighted the need to maintain public confidence in the security of the global aviation industry. He questioned why the U.S. and the U.K. did not have a common list of airports and why laptops can be secure in the cabin on some flights and not others, including flights departing from the same airport. He also raised the issue of why electronic equipment cannot be effectively screened prior to boarding.

IATA also described the process used by governments to put in place the security measures as “woefully lacking” in that there was no prior consultation and little coordination by governments.

The Association also called for better information sharing and coordination on security measures among governments and with the industry. “Intelligence needs to be shared amongst governments and with the industry. It’s the only way to stop terrorists before they get near an airport, let alone aircraft,” de Juniac declared.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is currently working on the development of a Global Aviation Security Plan (GASeP). De Juniac commented that the need for such a plan had been made very clear by wide gaps in the measures taken by governments in recent days.

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