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UK laptop ban ‘could end soon’

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iPads are among the devices banned in the cabin on flights from Turkey

Turkish minister tells local television that talks are underway towards ending the restrictions

Britain’s ban on iPads and laptops in the cabin of flights from Turkey could soon be reversed, the Turkish transport minister has suggested

Minister Ahmet Arslan told CNN Turk on Tuesday that he was hopeful the UK restrictions would be lifted following talks between Turkish and British security experts.

The move, ordered by Prime Minister Theresa May last week, meant devices larger than a typical smartphone must go in the plane’s hold.

“In our talks with the relevant authorities we demonstrated that our security measures at Ataturk Airport are at the highest level, and we are continuing technical talks,” Mr Arslan said in the CNN Turk interview.

“My expectation is that Britain first of all will lift these [the restrictions] soon.”

Turkey’s Transport Minister Ahmet Arslan said he expected Britain to lift its cabin laptop ban soon

He later clarified: “There is a feeling that Britain in particular will lift them, but it’s going to take a little longer with America.”

Popular large smartphones like the iPhone 7 Plus and Samsung Galaxy 7 Edge are not covered by the cabin restrictions and can be carried on board. But all tablets, laptops and Kindle e-readers must be stowed in luggage before the flight.

The Turkish minister said imposing arbitrary rules risked breaking down international aviation rules and pointed to a statement by the International Air Transport Association, which described the travel ban earlier this week as “woefully lacking”.

IATA’s Director General Alexandre de Juniac said: “The current measures are not an acceptable long-term solution to whatever threat they are trying to mitigate. Even in the short term it is difficult to understand their effectiveness.

“And the commercial distortions they create are severe. We call on governments to work with the industry to find a way to keep flying secure without separating passengers from their personal electronics.”

Turkish Airlines has introduced a temporary service on its UK and US flights that will see passengers’ laptops and tablets collected at the boarding gate and securely stowed in the hold. The devices will then be returned to passengers the moment they step off the aircraft.

Haber newspaper contacted the UK Department for Transport for comment on Ahmet Arslan’s remarks regarding the longevity of Britain’s cabin ban.

A spokeswoman refused to comment.