It looks like flying from the Middle East to the United States is going to get much easier. Since the U.S. Laptop Ban was introduced in March, customers haven’t been able to take electronic devices larger than a smartphone into the passenger cabin on direct flights to the USA from a number of airports in the region. Now, Etihad, Emirates and Turkish Airlines have all announced the Laptop Ban has been lifted from their respective home airports.
Yesterday, saw British Airways announce a new partnership with lifestyle brand, The White Company. The deal will see the company provide bedding and amenity kits for the airline’s Business Class cabin.
Elsewhere, a British pilots association has called for action to be taken against the flying of drones near airports. The union claims measures must be put in place to avert a “disaster”. Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines is considering buying a stake in Indian airline, Jet Airways and a Colombian low-cost airline is toying with the idea of standing room only flights.
A full summary continues below.
The Laptop Ban is No More for Etihad, Emirates and Turkish Airlines
05th July 2017 – Courtesy Skift
Hot on the heels of Etihad Airways, both Emirates and Turkish Airlines have announced the U.S. Laptop Ban no longer applies on any of their flights to the USA. Yesterday, Turkish Airlines chief exec, Bilal Eksi, said his airline had been “working hard” with U.S. authorities to introduce enhanced security measures.
The ban was first lifted for Etihad Airways on Sunday – commentators put that down to the Abu Dhabi airport having a U.S. Preclearance facility run by Customs and Border Protection guards. What specific measures have been taken by Emirates and Turkish Airlines to have the ban lifted remains unknown. However, Tim Clark, president of Emirates had previously said his airline would be willing to fully comply with any rules mandated by U.S. authorities.
The Laptop Ban was first introduced in March as an immediate reaction to what officials called “new” and sophisticated terror plots. Security experts believe terrorists have developed new ways to hide explosive devices in electronic gadgets.
British Airways Debuts New Business Class Bedding and Amenity Kit
05th July 2017 – Courtesy Head for Points
We already knew British Airways was introducing new bedding and pillows for its Club World business class product as part of a £400 million investment plan. We just didn’t know the details. Now, the airline has revealed all and announced a partnership with leading lifestyle brand, The White Company.
British Airways will now provide their Business Class passengers with a day cushion, blanket and separate (and much larger) pillow and duvet. The tie-up also see’s The White Company become the new suppliers of BA’s amenity kit.
The new bedding and amenity kit will be first introduced on all British Airways flights between London Heathrow and New York JFK this autumn. The rollout will then continue across the route network throughout 2018.
Another Drone “Near Miss” at Gatwick Airport Raises International Concern
03rd July 2017 – Courtesy Skift
Gatwick Airport, the UK’s second busiest airport was forced to briefly close its runway on Monday, following reports of drones (or unmanned aerial vehicles to use the technical term) being sighted in the area. At least five flights had to be diverted.
Now, the British Airline Pilots Association has said the use of drones near airports could lead to disaster. “The threat of drones being flown near manned aircraft must be addressed before we see a disaster,” commented Steve Landells, speaking on behalf of the union.
The incident is just one of a growing list of similar occurrences that have taken place around the world. Earlier this year, Dubai International Airport, the world’s busiest airport for international departures was forced to close its runway due to sightings of a drone close to the runway.
Standing Room Only – Colombian Airline Toys with Ripping Out Seats from Aircraft
30th June 2017 – Courtesy The Independent
Thankfully, this idea will probably never come to pass but it does at least get the low-cost airline in question plenty of press attention. No doubt the founder of VivaColombia considered the reaction when he suggested:
“There are people out there right now researching whether you can fly standing up – we’re very interested in anything that makes travel less expensive.”
His comments come at a time that VivaColombia is expanding its presence in its home market. The airline will be adding 50 Airbus A320 aircraft to its fleet in the coming years. VivaColombia aims to capitalise on the country’s growing tourist market and working class Colombians.
Of course, this isn’t the first time a standing room only plane has been dreamt up. All the way back in 2003, Airbus proposed a ‘vertical seat’ and a few years later, Irish low-cost carrier, Ryanair proposed a similar idea. Luckily, that plan never came to fruition.
Delta Air Lines Considers Stake in Indian Carrier, Jet Airways
04th July 2017 – Courtesy Business Standard
The Mumbai-based airline, Jet Airways is already 24% owned by Etihad Airways but a new investor in the form of Delta Air Lines might be preparing to buy into the Indian carrier. Jet is already in the process of setting up a joint venture with Delta and the Air France- KLM group.
According to sources, Jet has appointed financial management company, JPMorgan to assist in raising funds for the airline with Delta tipped to be in talks to buy a stake in the airline.
Etihad Airways bought its stake in Jet back in 2013 and there are also rumours that Jet has been meeting with Etihad executives to raise that investment further. However, all three airline’s involved in this rumour has refused to be drawn into speculation. A Delta spokesperson was reported as saying: “We cannot comment on any future investments.”
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.