Full detail on these changes can be found on the DoT website.
Fundamentally, ITM believes that where appropriate, business travel enhances and enriches a project between two parties. We are saddened that both US and UK Governments have received intelligence forcing them to implement these changes on large electronic items and whilst recognising the complexities that such an embargo brings, how this ban is being applied is the issue. The safety of all travellers must remain a top priority but the recent electronic restrictions do appear confusing:
1. Surely a terrorist could just as easily inflict damage when flying to the US or the UK from any airport in the world, not just the Middle East.
2. ITM members with global operations will not have failed to notice that the US and UK bans cover different countries. Furthermore, advice on spare batteries and power packs is inconsistent. If the UK ban had covered the UAE as the US edict does, the security advisory would have affected our UK members in a far greater way.
3. As with other security challenges in the past, there appears to be claims on social media that not all passengers are being challenged in the same way even at the same airport.
We are not asking for governments to share their sources but just that they address the above concerns robustly in the public domain.
How have UK corporations and airlines reacted? The IAG understand that some UK organisations are issuing different more secure laptops to those staff travelling to and from the affected countries, as well as ensuring all travellers are aware of the new restrictions via e-mail, intranet and through dialogue with their security teams. Others are ensuring that their computers are completely switched off before loading them into checked baggage and that encryption must be present. Some Middle Eastern carriers (part of the US ban) have announced they are issuing temporary laptops so people can work on planes.
The speed with which these security advisories were issued does indicate that the threat is very real and immediate. However, whilst that does leave governments, airports and airlines on the back foot when it comes to applying such a ban, it is vital that any changes to the travelling public are consistent and clear.
Like many security advisories, this communication will change. So please ensure you keep up to date with the UK Government advisory.