Mobile phones, laptops allowed on flights in 2014

Dec. 31, 2013

taking off plane

Davao Today

DAVAO CITY –  The use of mobile phones, laptops and other electronic devices for passengers during flights will be allowed on “conditional basis” in 2014.

The Civilian Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), the agency regulating commercial operations of airplanes and airports, made this announcement through its memorandum circular 52-13, series of 2013 Tuesday.

The new policy will take effect 15 days after publication of the memo in major newspapers.

The circular reads “people on board the aircraft conditional use of laptops and cellular phones, internet or short-message-service (SMS) or voice communications and other broadband services during flights.”

Previous airline policies prohibit the use of electronic devices as it was seen to cause interference in the plane’s electronic systems. But CAAP Director General William Hotchkiss III said with today’s technology can deliver mobile services in the air “safely and

Hotchkiss though explained that the use of electronic devices would be “conditional”.

The first condition is that the use of laptops for Internet and cellular phones for messages will be allowed when aircraft doors are
still open.

The second condition is that when aircraft doors are closed, transmitting portable electronic devices such as mobile phones should
be on silent mode, and “may be used only for short-message service (SMS) or Internet.”

The memo added that “voice communications are not allowed except for the use of GSMOBA (Global System for Mobile communication On Board Aircrafts) provided its use does not interfere with the orderly conduct of flight.”

CAAP said the use of such devices will be allowed “unless the Pilot-In-Command and or Senior Cabin Crew would specifically announce on the public address system (PAS) its prohibition.”

The memo said all devices should be turned off when the airline is refueling.

Other devices allowed by CAAP on flight are games on electronic devices provided they are played on silent mode and MP3s played with headphones.

CAAP also showed an article to Davao Today that said an independent industry study by RTCA (Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics) in 1992 showed “no interference and eventually eventually recommended allowing the use of laptops, gaming devices and music players. Still, it suggested the precaution of banning the use of any and all devices during the critical takeoff and landing phases. “ (John Rizle L. Saligumba/

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