Asian Airlines Scared about US Laptop Ban According to CAPA

The ban of laptop and large electronic items would potentially affect 179 daily flights and 51,000 passengers.

There is ongoing uncertainty about a possible extension to other parts of the world, including Asia, of a prohibition of large electronic devices on flights to the US. What is certain is that whatever the situation is – and there are recent disputes of conversations between Europe and the US – the US is not ruling out a future extension. Logic would suggest others should follow suit.

According to the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation CAPA, the trans-Pacific market from Asia to the US represents approximately 179 daily flights, offering 51,351 available seats – more than the 48 flights and 16,683 seats to the US from the 10 airports, mostly in the Middle East, covered under the first phase of the ban. The Asia-US market is smaller than the Europe-US market, but flights are considerably longer.

United, Delta, Korean Air and EVA Air are the largest Asia-US airlines, but United, Korean, ANA and JAL have the largest business and first class cabins, where presumably there is greater demand for electronic device usage, and demand could taper from lack of confidence. Southeast Asia would be less affected as only Singapore Airlines flies for the time being to the United States. They are still plans for Vietnam Airlines to also start flying to the USA while AirAsia X started a route to Honolulu.

Business travelers who often work on laptops during flights would particularly feel the pain. CAPA report shows that United Airlines boasts the largest capacity in first- and business-class cabins on transpacific routes, followed by Korean Air, All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines in premium class capacity. For ANA, 24% of its Asia-U.S. capacity is in premium cabins, the highest among 15 carriers serving Asia-U.S. markets. The number for JAL is 21%. With a higher rate of business travelers, the premium classes are where “presumably there is greater demand for electronic device usage,” according to the report.

The demand from Asia to the USA would probably weaken if the ban is extended to cover Asia. U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said in a TV interview on May 28 that the administration is considering extending the laptop ban to all international flights to and from the U.S.