Monday, June 5, 2017

Global Airlines Conference Sees New Safety Concerns after Series of Attacks




Above 900 global airline executives and media personnel gathered on Sunday at a Mexican resort located in Cancun to discuss travel restrictions and get the latest updates on geopolitical issues affecting several nations currently. One of the highlighted agenda involves the recent response from the United States banning laptops on a number of flights. 

Computer bans affect numerous passengers
U.S.-imposed restrictions on carrying large electronic devices inside aircraft cabins have been seen affecting flights between the United States and the Middle East. Back in April, the total demand for air travel increased by 10.7%, however as per the International Air Transport Association the growth rate for Middle East Airlines is observed to be sluggish compared to its five-year average. The revenue passenger kilometers involving U.S. and the Middle East even dropped by 2.8% (the first decrease in a span of seven years). 

It was last March of this year that the United States made the restrictions known on laptops and tablets. The affected airports are the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. The affected airlines are the Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways as well as the Emirates. 

Fight against terrorism
The restriction was decided based on the grounds that a bomb can be camouflaged in such devices and then taken inside the aircraft. There were attempts to expand the restrictions to Europe but as of now there were no final decisions yet being announced in the public. If the restrictions will push through it can affect European airlines like the Norwegian Air Shuttle, American Airlines, United, Delta, Lufthansa, British Airways, and Air France-KLM. Should the ban be implemented in Europe, it can mean a loss of $1.4 billion on productivity since passengers would not be given the chance to work while on flight. 

However, during the Global Airlines Conference, authorities are mulling over safety considerations of holding laptop batteries in possession. The IATA is calling for improving security instead of restricting such devices. It sees the need to train security staff and dogs even better to be able to ensure a more efficient and advanced explosives detection. 

Series of attacks augments fear
On Saturday night, another act of terrorism took place on London Bridge where attackers riding a hired van crashed into pedestrians and stabbed nearby people. Seven people got killed in a third terrorist attack in Britain in a few months’ time. 

Director General of IATA, Alexandre de Juniac, even said in a statement that recent violence in London can discourage visitors like what had happened last year. 

Moreover, in a series of Twitter messages, U.S. President Donald Trump even acknowledged that the travel ban is highly needed as an increased safety measure against terrorism. 

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