President Donald Trump signed a new Executive Order on Monday morning that will ban the citizens of 6 Muslim majority nations entering the USA. The last time this happened – just over six weeks ago – passengers were stranded in transit and airlines had to scramble to make sure their cabin crew weren’t caught up in the sweeping order.
But this time round, the Big Three Middle East airlines – Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways might just escape the chaos that the original Travel Ban caused. Travel Ban 2.0 prevents the citizens of 6 countries travelling to the U.S for a period of 90 days. Additionally, all refugees will be banned from entering the U.S. for 9o days.
The affected countries are Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
Iraq has been removed from the original list after extensive lobbying from the Iraqi Prime Minister and reassurances over the vetting procedures already in place.
The original order was sweeping with holders of valid visas prevented from entering the USA and even detained by Immigration officials in some cases. However, talking to the Fox News Channel, Kellyanne Conway – President Trump’s right-hand woman – gave some assurances.
Conway explained that permanent residents (Green Card holders) and those with valid visas would not be barred. Talking about the exemptions, Conway was reported as saying: “If you have travel docs, if you actually have a visa, if you are a legal permanent resident, you are not covered under this particular executive action,”
As part of their conditions of employment, cabin crew are expected to obtain U.S. visas to allow them to fly to the country without impediment.
This should be a big relief for the Persian Gulf airlines who were forced to quickly change staff rosters to comply with the original travel ban. In a statement to Reuters last month, Emirates – who fly to 11 U.S. destinations – confirmed that it had made “the necessary adjustments to our crewing, to comply with the latest requirements,”
In related news, the Nigerian government has told its citizens to halt non-essential travel to the U.S. until “there is clarity on the new immigration policy.” However, this might not be so much of a concern to Emirates who were recently accused of only having 10 Nigerian cabin crew working for them.
Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways have been asked if they will be enforcing the new travel ban but had not replied at the time of publication.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.