U.S. authorities say Etihad flights from Abu Dhabi to the United States have been exempted from a U.S. ban on personal electronic equipment being transported in airplane cabins.
Etihad on July 2 welcomed the decision by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, saying it "allows passengers to have all laptops, tablets, and other gadgets as carry-on items, after going through enhanced-inspection procedures."
Abu Dhabi International Airport in the capital of the United Arab Emirates is the only one in the region with a U.S. Customs and Border Protection preclearance operation on site, allowing passengers to go through U.S. immigration and customs inspections before they board, rather than upon U.S. arrival.
Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan said U.S. officials had determined that "the measures have been implemented correctly and to the full extent required" in Abu Dhabi.
The U.S. ban on larger electronic devices was imposed in March and now affects nonstop U.S.-bound flights from nine international airports in Amman, Jordan; Kuwait City; Cairo; Istanbul; Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Casablanca, Morocco; Doha, Qatar; and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
The ban was put in place after intelligence reports suggested the Islamic State (IS) militant group was seeking to use laptops to hide bombs for terror attacks aboard passenger jets.