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The possibility of Canada joining U.S and U.K with its version of electronics ban is rife in Canadian media. Recent media reports suggest that Canadian officials are busy analyzing the U.S and U.K versions of the bans and evaluating the threat carefully.
Electronics Ban Canada
The U.S version of the electronics ban restricts passengers from bringing electronics larger than a cell phone, as carry-on items. The ban affects passengers traveling on direct flights from eight countries (10 airports) – Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Turkey.
Canada’s transport minister, Marc Garneau has confirmed that the Canadian government is indeed evaluating the intelligence passed by their American counterparts, to determine if Canada should follow suit. While the Canadian intelligence community maybe hard at work in analyzing the threat, no timelines for a decision have been made public yet. It’s hard to ascertain the level of co-operation Canadian officials are receiving from U.S counterparts and the specific details being shared. ‘Trump drama’ aside, I find it baffling it’s taking so long for Canada to “analyze the threat”. That being said, I hope Canadian intelligence evaluates both, the actual threat and the implementation/effectiveness of such a ban.
Effects of the electronics ban in Canada
One of the possible repercussions of the U.S ban is that Canadian airports will see (are seeing?) an increased passenger traffic from the affected countries, as travelers navigate around the ban. Currently, Canada has ~34 direct flights per week from the countries listed in the US ban. Air Canada, Emirates, Turkish, EgyptAir, Royal Jordanian, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar airways and Saudia, all operate direct flights into Toronto and Montreal. A ban on these routes will severely affect and curtail Canadian connectivity from these locations. If a Canadian ban was to come into effect, layovers in EU and India become the obvious alternate routes to Canada.
To be honest, I was surprised that Canada did not join the ban(d)-wagon the same time as U.S. A layover in Canada renders the U.S ban list somewhat ineffective. Everything from the credibility of the threat and the effectiveness of the ban is at play for Canadian officials to consider.
I have a couple of international trip coming up (life coming between flying Cathay First Class) and I do not wish to be blindsided by a Canadian version of the electronics ban. My love for flying Turkish business class with layover options in Istanbul now seem in jeopardy. I suggest all near-and-future Canada bound passengers keep a close eye on this developing issue.