Airline passengers flying on two Turkish carriers to the UK can now take their electronic devices on board, subject to what the Government calls “tough additional security measures”.
Passengers flying from either of the two Istanbul airports, Ataturk and Sabiha Gokcen, or from Izmir, will now be able to carry laptops, tablets and accessories into the cabin to the UK — but only if they are flying on Turkish Airlines or Pegasus.
Rules banning anything bigger than a mobile phone from the cabin of direct flights to the UK were introduced abruptly in March. They covered flights from six countries, of which Turkey is by far the most important in terms of aviation links. The others were Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.
The prohibition on personal electronic devices (PEDs) was imposed very shortly after the US announced similar bans. The Americans progressively removed the restrictions earlier this month.
The Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, said: “Having looked carefully at the changes introduced in March, and working with our international partners and the industry on tough additional security measures, we can now lift the ban on electronic devices in the cabin on a small number of UK-bound flights from Istanbul and Izmir.
“The remaining restrictions will be lifted only when we are satisfied it is safe and proportionate to do so.”
The new checks include explosive trace detection tests on portable electronic devices, as well as enhanced surveillance.
All other Turkish airports, including Antalya, Bodrum and Dalaman, are still covered by the ban. No UK airlines have seen the rules eased, including on British Airways flights from Istanbul.
A spokesperson for BA said: “We are working with the UK Government and the local airport authorities to assess the security requirements in each of the countries where the UK Government restrictions currently apply.
“We keep our security policies under constant review and if there are any changes to what items can be taken into the cabin, we will let any affected customers know.”
The UK's biggest budget airline, easyJet, said it expects the ban to be lifted on its flights shortly. A spokesperson said the airline plans "to lift the security restrictions on PEDs and implement new additional security measures on its flights from Turkey during the course of next week".
"Once we have a date we will contact customers travelling on these routes to inform them."
The Department for Transport said: “These restrictions will be lifted on a case by case basis once the government has verified that additional security measures are in place.”
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