Qatar Airways announced early Thursday it is exempt from the U.S. ban on electronics in aircraft cabins on flights from the Middle Eastern country's capital city to America.
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"Qatar Airways and Hamad International Airport have met with all requirements of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s new security guidelines, and we would like to express our thanks to the U.S. and local authorities for their support during this process," the airline said in a press release.
Fellow Gulf-area carriers Emirates and Turkish Airlines received exemption from the ban Wednesday on U.S.-bound flights from Dubai and Istanbul, respectively. Etihad Airways on Sunday became the first Gulf-region carrier to gain U.S. approval to allow passengers to carry personal electronics devices with them inside aircraft cabins.
"Qatar Airways’ rapid implementation of the enhanced security measures are a testament to the close collaboration, effective communication, and shared security commitment between TSA, the international civil aviation authorities, and industry. We look forward to working with other airlines to ensure immediate implementation of these critical measures to raise the baseline on global aviation security," a TSA spokesperson told FOX Business.
The news comes at a time when Qatar Airways is struggling to maintain its presence in the Gulf region as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have cut diplomatic ties with the airline’s home country, including halting air traffic.
Speaking at the Paris Air Show in June, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said the blockade on the country would “leave a lasting wound,” according to The Associated Press. Baker added that he believes the Trump administration would intervene "to make sure that this blockade is lifted soonest and that life in our region comes back to normal, especially since he knows that we are part of his alliance against terrorism and that we are a major player in his strategy in the region."
The airline was named "Airline of the Year" by Skytrax, an air carrier ratings organization at the air show.
Additionally, Qatar Airways announced in June its intent to make an $808 million investment, or 10% stake, in American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL).