File photo Lithium-ion fire UPS cargo plane

America’s Federal Aviation Administration hid the bad safety implications of the Trump ban on passenger carried computers and tablets from the public when it was imposed on selected Middle East airlines in March.

The revelation, in Air Transport World (ATW) underlines the needless risks to passenger safety that arise from the politically motivated ban, which has to a lesser extent, also been imposed by UK authorities. (ATW requires a free subscription for this story and much of its extensive industry coverage.)

While the bans by US and UK authorities don’t directly affect any scheduled flights from Australia and New Zealand to American cities or London, they raise the risk level for those making a range of indirect connections to some of those destinations on Emirates, Etihad, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines.

Not to mince words, the purpose of the bans appears to be to screw the major ME carriers at the behest of envious US carriers that can’t in large part be bothered with operating flights to Doha, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

The fundamental issue is the banishing (on selected flights) of personal devices powered by spontaneous combustion prone lithium-ion batteries to under-floor checked luggage.

This contradicts the safe battery regulations of the word’s various airline regulators, including Australia’s CASA, which insist on their being carried into the cabin where any outbreak of fire in them can be directly dealt with by trained cabin crew.

In an earlier post in her ATW Editor’s blog, Karen Walker noted that It’s as if the US and UK governments, which could take away these airlines’ operating certificates if they don’t comply, is forcing passengers to choose which way they’d prefer to die on their flight, by bomb or by fire?

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