The UK and US have launched a new in-flight cabin ban on electronics such as laptops, iPads and more. For UK passengers these devices are banned from hand luggage on all inbound flights direct from Turkey, Qatar, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. For the US the rules apply to all inbound flights from Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar and the UAE. Jeremy Palmer of private jet broker Hunt & Palmer tells how private aviation can help companies that are impacted.
Airlines and Public
The laptop ban on flights from some countries in the Middle East and North Africa will have wide-reaching implications – on the surface, the ones to suffer will be the commercial airlines that will have to bear the brunt of these regulatory changes and enforce them to a potentially unwilling general public.
Then there’s the public themselves who have swiftly become used to the luxury of in-flight Wifi, pulling out tablets whenever the kids start to get restless.
For the international business community, to whom the mile-high office is second nature, these changes will also have a profound effect. Many C-suite execs expect to be able to use their hours in the sky to prepare for meetings and bill clients. As a result, not being able to have a laptop or tablet onboard certain routes is a significant setback – especially if you fly regularly.
The hop between Saudi Arabia to London is about eight hours – effectively an entire billable day to clients. Without being able to use laptops or tablets, top business execs are basically hostages to in-flight TV and mini G&T’s.
Businesses are likely to suffer from these changes – companies could lose millions in billable time every year as a result of these new regulations.
What can businesses do to adapt?
The business world should be nimble enough to adapt to these changes.
With rapid technological advancements and businesses becoming more versatile, remote working is becoming increasingly popular. In many companies, presenteeism is no longer a pre-requisite.
Instead, apps like Skype and Slack have transformed the modern working office – allowing branches in different countries to communicate seamlessly over hyperspace. As sci-fi as it sounds, there has even been talk of companies using ‘virtual’ meeting rooms to stay in touch.
This could also prove to be a boon for private jet charters. We’re already seeing evidence of an uplift in inquiries from businesses with HNWs who regularly travel these routes for work, and expect to see more in the months ahead.
It’s not even prohibitively expensive. You would only need five top execs that bill 1,000 an hour, to justify taking an 8-hour private jet. If they are billing each hour they would make back the cost of taking a £35,000 jet from Saudi Arabia to London.
With this challenge comes an opportunity for businesses to prove how versatile they are.