The United States has granted permission to the UAE’s Etihad Airways for personal electronic devices to be allowed in the cabins of US-bound aircraft departing Abu Dhabi, American authorities said Sunday.
The move comes more than three months after the United States prohibited such devices on direct flights from 10 airports in Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa.
Etihad is the first airliner to benefit from a lift in the ban, which specified that carry-on laptops and other electronics larger than a cellphone would not be permitted in the cabin on direct flights from the airports, including Abu Dhabi.
The ban was implemented after intelligence officials learned of efforts by the Islamic State group to fashion a bomb that could be secreted inside consumer electronics.
The decision to lift the ban on Etihad flights departing Abu Dhabi came after the airliner implemented enhanced security measures, David Lapan, spokesman for the US Department of Homeland Security, said Sunday.
“We commend Etihad for working swiftly to implement these additional measures,” he said. “Their efforts are a model for both foreign and domestic airlines looking to adopt the new measures.”
Lapan said the specific measures that were put in place were confidential, but added that passengers and electronic devices would face additional screening.
In addition to the 10-airport ban, the United States announced on June 28 that it would impose stricter security measures on all US-bound flights, regardless of origin.
Washington has promised to lift its March ban affecting the 10 airports when airliners adhere to additional security measures.
Britain similarly announced a ban on personal electronic devices for flights originating from six countries.