Özkül Beyzade tells Haber newspaper that the UK government’s decision will have a detrimental effect on tourism to Turkey
Laptops and iPads were banned from the cabin luggage of all airline passengers travelling from Turkey to the UK under sweeping new security measures announced this week.
The ban, which affects direct flights to Britain from all Turkish airports, covers devices which are larger than a typical smartphone measuring 16cm by 9.3cm by 1.5cm. These will now have to go in the plane’s hold.
The move was ordered by Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday and affected airlines – which include British Airways, Turkish Airlines, easyJet and Pegasus Airlines, among others – were informed immediately, even though the new security measure was not expected to be fully in place until the weekend.
Flights from Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia were also affected by the move, which followed a similar measure by the US authorities.
“We understand the frustration that these measures may cause and we are working with the aviation industry to minimise any impact,” said Chris Grayling, the transport secretary.
“Decisions to make changes to our aviation security regime are never taken lightly,” a government spokesman added.
“We will not hesitate to act in order to maintain the safety of the travelling public and we will work closely with our international partners to minimise any disruption these new measures may cause.”
Tourist and transit passengers badly affected
Jet2.com, Monarch, Thomas Cook and Atlas Global are the other airlines that fly to Turkey and are covered by the new British measures.
Devices including Kindles and other e-readers will be banned from the cabin, along with hybrid devices such as the Microsoft Surface and iPad Pro, as well as the new Nintendo Switch gaming system.
Turkish authorities were swift to criticise the US ban but refused to comment on Britain’s decision, which covers a greater number airlines and airports because there are more direct routes connecting Turkey and the UK.
But Özkül Beyzade, the owner of the travel agency Diplomat Travel who has worked in the sector for half a century, said the decision would have a bad effect on Turkish tourism.
He told Haber newspaper that the decision was unexpected and described it as a political move.
Families with children in particular carry tablet computers with them in the cabin, Mr Beyzade said, adding: “To tell passengers that they cannot take their electronic items into the cabin will affect people on business and those whose insurance does not cover electronic items in the hold luggage.”
The decision will increase British security fears over Turkey and contradicts other messages of good neighbourly relations that we have heard from the UK government, he said.