EU allows electronic device use on board

Guidance extends personal devices to all phases of flight

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) says it will publish by the end of this month guidance extending the use of personal electronic devices such as tablets, smartphones, e-readers and mp3 players to all phases of flight – as long as the devices are in “flight mode” or “airplane mode”.

The agency’s current guidance allows the use of devices on planes except during taxiing, take-off and landing. Bulky devices like laptop computers will need to be stowed during taxiing, take-off and landing.

“This is a major step in the process of expanding the freedom to use personal electronic devices on board aircraft without compromising safety,” said Patrick Ky, EASA’s executive director.

The changes will be applicable to aircraft operated by European airlines. Airlines, following their own assessments, will be able to allow passengers to use their electronic devices at all times.

In the long term, the agency is looking at new ways to certify the use of mobile phones on aircraft to make phone calls. It says it recognises the wide proliferation of personal electronic devices and the wish of the travelling public to use them everywhere. But safety is the agency’s overriding priority.

Ubergizmo

[pictured: Ibis Sleep Art app; image courtesy Accor]

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