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Open Letter from ACTE – Community on Electronics Ban

March 28, 2017 Business News No Comments Email Email

Greeley Koch, Executive Director of the Association for Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE), shared a letter with the association’s members outlining continued concern about the unclear guidance contained in the device ban. I’ve included the full letter below, but highlights include: 

  • While safety remains a top priority, the ban itself allows for numerous loopholes, ultimately rendering it ineffective.
  • The burden this ban places on business travelers is enormous—not only does it contribute to lost productivity, but it also creates information security headaches for businesses.
  • Some companies are already looking to implement solutions, such as equipment exchanges, that allow travelers to access information and equipment while on the road, but these workarounds remain imperfect.

The full letter follows:

I wanted to reach out to you with a personal message based on member feedback about the new electronics ban on flights originating in the Middle East. We also want you to know that we will continue to advocate on behalf of you and your travellers in this fluid travel environment.

Shortly after the new rules were announced, I reached out to a few ACTE members – buyers and suppliers. Based upon their insight, we at ACTE were able to craft a response that balanced security and traveller safety with practical considerations.

As you may have seen in various news articles and the release we issued (accessed via this link), our belief is that safety is paramount. But the current restrictions defy common sense. Assuming there is dangerous new technology, a terrorist could just as easily inflict damage when flying to the US or the UK from any airport anywhere in the world – including Europe or even within the US or UK – not just those in the Middle East.  Also supposing the risk is real, why do the US and UK e-bans cover different countries—including, in the case of the US, the Abu Dhabi airport, which is a US pre-clearance facility?

Answers are needed now. Without further explanation, these new restrictions will only breed skepticism of the government’s perception of business travel.

Given the current restrictions, some companies anticipate launching computer exchange programs so that employees would not have to travel with their primary laptop/tablet.

This would allow travellers access to critical equipment and information – without risking proprietary data.  But these are early days. As time passes, more questions – and solutions — will come to the fore.

That’s why I’m asking you to please send your thoughts directly to me at As we collect your sentiments and feedback, we will be better able to represent your interests and continue the discussions with the relevant authorities on behalf of business travellers.

We will be asking questions of the authorities as we strive for safe travel as well as reasoned approaches—not knee-jerk reactions. We need your insight to do the best job possible.

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