Saudi Arabian Airlines hopes U.S. will lift laptop ban by July 19: SPA

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian Airlines, known as Saudia, expects the in-cabin ban on laptops and other large electronics on its direct flights to the United States to be lifted by July 19, state news agency SPA reported on Tuesday.

A Saudia, also known as Saudi Arabian Airlines, plane lands at Rafik al-Hariri airport in Beirut, Lebanon June 29, 2017. REUTERS/Jamal Saidi

But U.S. authorities said it was too early to say whether the carrier would satisfy the new requirements.

The airline is working with the country’s civil aviation authority, GACA, to implement new security measures for U.S.-bound flights announced by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security last week, according to the SPA report.

David Lapan, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said in an email it was too early to confirm Saudia’s compliance.

Saudia flies to the United States from airports in Jeddah and Riyadh.

Dubai-based Emirates, the Middle East’s largest airline, said on Tuesday it was working to implement measures to lift the ban.

On Sunday, the United States lifted a ban on laptops in cabins on flights from Abu Dhabi to the United States, saying Etihad Airways had put in place required tighter security measures.

Turkish Airlines said on Monday it expected the ban to be lifted on flights from Turkey on July 5.

Lapan confirmed that Turkish Airlines alerted the Transportation Security Administration that it was ready to comply and that U.S. officials would verify on Wednesday whether the new measures had been correctly implemented.

In March, the United States banned laptops in cabins on flights to the United States originating at 10 airports in eight countries - Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Turkey - to address fears that bombs could be concealed in electronic devices taken on board.

Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi and Valerie Volcovici in Washington DC; writing by Alexander Cornwell; editing by Jason Neely and Richard Chang