Authorities from the United Kingdom notified their Turkish counterparts Thursday that the electronics ban in cabins imposed in March will be lifted in flights from Turkey. A similar ban imposed by the United States was lifted earlier in July.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Minister of State for Europe and the Americas at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom, Alan Duncan, called Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Thursday to inform him that the ban would be lifted, the Anadolu Agency reported based on diplomatic sources.
In March, the U.S. banned large electronics in cabins on flights from 10 airports in eight countries in the Middle East and North Africa over concerns that explosives could be concealed in the devices taken onboard an aircraft. The ban was considered to be among one of the controversial travel restrictions imposed by President Donald Trump's administration.
Middle East carriers have blamed Trump's travel restrictions, which include banning citizens of some Muslim majority countries from visiting the U.S., for a downturn in demand on U.S routes.
A similar ban covering direct flights from six countries was later imposed by the U.K., which continues to enforce a similar in-cabin ban on electronics ban on flights from some Middle Eastern airports. Those restrictions apply to flights from Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.
As of July 20, the U.S. ban was lifted on the nine airlines affected -- Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Royal Jordanian, Kuwait Airways, EgyptAir and Royal Air Maroc -- the only carriers to fly direct to the United States from the region.
A ban on citizens of six Muslim-majority countries -- Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, -- remains in place though has been limited after several U.S. court hearings challenged the restrictions.
Leading industry group, International Air Transport Association (IATA), criticized the laptop ban as ineffective, as security experts argued that militants could travel to the United States via Europe or elsewhere where the restrictions didn't apply.
The restrictions were imposed as major U.S. carriers American Airlines Group, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines resumed their campaign against the Gulf carriers Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways by pressuring the new U.S. administration to renegotiate its open skies agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
However, U.S. and Middle East officials said the campaign and the travel restrictions were not related.
U.S. officials lifted the ban after visiting the 10 airports in Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Turkey over the past three weeks to confirm new security measures announced last month were being implemented.
On Thursday, the U.S. issued a revised directive to airlines around the world in response to requests that it clarify aviation security measures scheduled to start taking effect this week.
The new requirements include enhanced passenger screening at foreign airports, increased security protocols around aircraft and in passenger areas and expanded canine screening. They affect 325,000 airline passengers on about 2,000 commercial flights arriving daily in the United States, on 180 airlines from 280 airports in 105 countries.
Airlines that fail to meet the new security requirements could face in-cabin electronics restrictions.