Qatar Airways joins gulf rivals in securing laptop-ban exemption

Qatar Airways Ltd. joined other major carriers in the Middle East to win an exemption on measures barring laptops from cabins of aircraft after its Doha base complied with new U.S. security guidelines.

All personal electronic devices can be carried on all flights to the U.S. from Doha with immediate effect as Hamad International Airport has met with all requirements of the Department of Homeland Security, the airline said in a statement on its website Thursday. The announcement comes a day after Emirates said the ban was lifted for its Dubai base.

Escaping the laptop ban is seen as vital for Mideast operators after the measures led some customers to switch to airlines where they could still use equipment, also including tablet computers and games consoles. Istanbul, home to Turkish Airlines, declared itself free of the ban Wednesday, while Etihad Airways hub Abu Dhabi secured exemption last Sunday, aided by the presence of a U.S. “pre-clearance” border post there.

Other airports among the 10 affected by the U.S. ban are also moving toward a resolution, with Saudi Arabia Airlines saying Tuesday that it effects to be free of the curbs by July 19. Amman-based Royal Jordanian said it has also asked the U.S. Transportation Security Administration to approve its response to the new guidelines requiring stricter security scans and checks.

The U.S. announced the ban on the devices in March, citing security concerns, immediately followed by Britain.