International Air Transport Association director general Alexandre de Juniac has for the first time publicly questioned the effectiveness or reasoning behind the U.S. and UK bans on large electronic devices in airliner passenger cabins on flights from certain Middle Eastern and Northern African countries. Speaking Tuesday in Montreal at IATA’s Council on Foreign Relations, de Juniac also criticized the governments' failure to consult and coordinate with airlines before issuing the directives.
“I should emphasize, airlines don’t want access to state secrets,” he said. “But if airlines understand the outcome governments want, they can help with their real world operational experience to deliver the result effectively and efficiently.”
De Juniac also asked a series of questions he said “underpin” confidence in the industry’s security measures. For example, he questioned why airports listed in the U.S. and UK bans don’t match and how one can consider laptops secure in the cabin of some flights and not others, particularly on flights originating at the same airport.
“And surely there must be a way to screen electronic equipment effectively at airport checkpoints,” he said.
“The current measures are not an acceptable long-term solution to whatever threat they are trying to mitigate,” added de Juniac. “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.”