ABU DHABI // The chairman of the General Civil Aviation Authority expressed surprise over the ban on electronic devices on US bound flights from UAE airports, which comes into force on Saturday.
“The UAE is the No 1 ranked country worldwide by the International Civil Aviation Organization regarding compliance with international security and safety standards,” said Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, the Minister of Economy and GCAA chairman about the performance of the country’s aviation industry.
Reaffirming the UAE’s role as a leading aviation country that maintained the highest security standards, director general of the GCAA Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi said high level cooperation would continue in combating and addressing threats to civil aviation.
“We are eager to maintain the same level of cooperation with the US Transportation Security Administration,” he said.
“The United States Custom and Border Protection selected the UAE as one of the first countries in the world to implement pre-clearance facilities at Abu Dhabi International Airport in clear demonstration of their trust in the ability of the UAE civil aviation system to process passengers securely, safely and in accordance with the highest international standards and practices.”
The US Department of Homeland Security has set out new rules that ban airline passengers from 10 airports including Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Qatar from carrying electronic devices larger than normal smartphones in to the plane cabin.
The UK has announced a similar ban on flights from six countries, excluding the UAE.
Passengers on long-haul flights bound to the US must check-in electronic devices such as tablets and laptops before boarding their flights.
Etihad Airways advised passengers that smartphones, tablets and laptops larger than 16cm x 9.3cm will not be allowed in to the cabin for flights to the US.
The airline said it was sending out email alerts and had put up signs at check-in desks to prepare passengers.
“To avoid inconvenience, guests are encouraged to pack the prohibited items in their checked baggage prior to reaching the preclearance facility in Abu Dhabi,” Etihad said in a statement on Friday.
“Any prohibited electronic devices will have to be declared and placed in padded envelopes before being securely taken to the aircraft luggage hold by staff.”
Emirates announced on Thursday that it would begin collecting devices that fall under the ban just before they board flights to the United States.
The devices would then be packed in boxes, loaded into the aircraft hold and returned once passengers arrived in the US.