Dubai – Australia has announced extra security screening measures starting from April 6 for passengers flying from the UAE and Qatar.
The new measures are like those currently in place on flights to the UK and US.
“We would ask our guests to allow extra time at Abu Dhabi International airport so the additional security procedures can be carried out. Safety and security remains our utmost priority,” Etihad Airways said in a statement.
The airline’s spokesman clarified that the new rules do not affect Etihad Airways’ flights leaving Australia to Abu Dhabi and beyond.
On March 31, Australia announced the increased security checks that will hit passengers flying directly to Australia from Doha, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
The affected airlines are Qantas Airways, Etihad Airways, Emirates, and Qatar Airways.
Britain and the US banned have already laptops and tablet computers in cabins on flights from some countries in the Middle East and North Africa earlier this month on fears of attacks.
“Explosive detection screening will be conducted for randomly selected passengers and their baggage. Checks may also include targeted screening of electronic devices,” Australian transport minister Darren Chester said.
“Our changes are in line with the UK, which recently announced that people travelling from Doha, Abu Dhabi and Dubai will be subject to random explosive trace detection screening.
There is no ban on the carriage of electronic devices on flights to Australia at this stage. Chester said there was “no specific threat to Australia.”
“In response to national security advice, the federal government has made precautionary changes and instructed airlines to implement new protocols from next week.”
US officials mentioned their measure was intended to thwart possible attacks on airliners with small explosive devices hidden in consumer electronics.
The US ban affects nine airlines from eight countries – the UAE, Turkey, Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.