Etihad Airways says bookings to US healthy despite laptop ban

Etihad Airways' bookings to the United States are healthy despite last month's introduction of a ban on most electronics from the cabins of passenger flights to the United States, the Abu Dhabi carrier said on Monday.

On March 25, the US banned electronic devices larger than a mobile phone from passenger cabins on direct flights to the US from 10 airports in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, including the United Arab Emirates.

"Bookings to US destinations remain healthy and customer feedback to the initiatives taken by Etihad Airways to provide for their business and entertainment needs has been very positive," an Etihad spokesman said.

Industry experts warned the ban – prompted by reports that militant groups want to smuggle explosive devices in electronic gadgets – could be damaging to fast-growing Gulf carriers by weakening demand among corporate flyers who use their travel time to complete work on laptops and other devices.

Etihad said last week it would lend approved tablets and offer unlimited wifi to business and first-class passengers traveling on US-bound flights.

In March, fellow Gulf carrier Emirates said booking rates on US flights fell 35 percent after President Donald Trump's first travel ban which like the electronics ban only applied to Muslim-majority countries.

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