By Aziz El Yaakoubi
Royal Air Maroc expects the U.S. ban on laptops and other large electronic devices in aircraft cabins on direct flights to the United States to be lifted by July 19, a senior official from the state-owned airline said on Thursday.
The U.S. banned laptops in cabins on flights originating at 10 airports in eight countries – Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Turkey – in March to address fears that bombs could be concealed in them.
“Negotiations with the U.S. authorities are underway and we expect the ban to end by July 19 at the latest,” the official, who declined to be named, said.
U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) spokesman Mike England said in an email that it was too early to confirm Royal Air Maroc’s compliance.
Royal Air Maroc operates flights to the United States from Casablanca’s Mohammed V International Airport.
Qatar Airways said on Thursday the ban had been lifted on its flights from Doha’s Hamad International Airport.
Emirates, Turkish Airlines and Etihad also announced a lifting of the ban on their flights this week.
Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) has said it expects the ban to be lifted on flights from Jeddah and Riyadh by July 19.
Other airlines affected by the ban include Royal Jordanian , Kuwait Airways and EgyptAir.
The United States announced enhanced security measures for flights to the country on June 29. These require additional time to screen passengers and personal electronic devices for possible explosives.
Airlines that fail to meet the new security requirements could still face in-cabin electronics restrictions.
(Editing by Alexander Cornwell and Alexander Smith)