The ban on laptops in jetliner cabins on flights to the United States from 10 Middle Eastern and African airports has “weighed down” passenger traffic, says the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Passenger traffic in March on routes by Middle East airlines to the United States fell 2.8 percent compared to a year earlier, IATA reports. This was the first annual decline recorded for this market in at least seven years. The data is especially noteworthy because global passenger traffic data is bullish overall. Demand in April rose by 10.7 percent compared to a year ago (the biggest increase in years), IATA says.
This strong global performance is attributed to an uptick in global economic activity and lower airfares. After adjusting for inflation, the price of air travel in the first quarter was around 10 percent lower than the same period in 2016. IATA estimated that falling airfares accounted for about half the demand growth in April.
Meanwhile, Trump administration lawyers filed with the high court late Thursday, arguing the United States will be safer if the travel ban prohibiting inbound travel by citizens of six Middle Eastern countries is put in place. The attorneys also claim that lower courts that blocked the policy made many errors, including relying on Trump’s 2016 campaign statements.
Under the Trump plan, immigration officials would have 90 days to decide what changes are necessary before people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen can resume applying for visas. The U.S. refugee program would be halted for 120 days.
It will take a Supreme Court majority of at least five justices to put the policy into effect.