Call for airlines to ease restrictions on electronic devices

Call for airlines to ease restrictions on electronic devices

Electronic devices should be allowed to be used by passengers during take off and landing, a draft report from US Federal Aviation Administration says.

Recommending an easing of restrictions, the report makes no mention of mobile phones but suggests a widespread ban on other devices should be relaxed as the current system "has become untenable".

Changes would allow use of certain devices, such as e-readers, during take off and landing, in addition to during the flight.

Nearly one third of passengers report that they have left on a device throughout a flight, according to research mentioned in the report which suggests that the FAA had to change a policy that is increasingly ignored, the Daily Telegraph reported.

A formal decision won't be made until the FAA receives a final version of the advisory study at the end of September but if the group does change the rules, European regulators are likely to follow suit.

The original ban was introduced in 1996 although it has been updated since, and the FAA allows electric razors and audio recorders throughout the flight.

Studies show that most devices are almost no risk to aircrafts. In the draft report, the group recognises that technical advances have led to "much more tolerant aircrafts" along with more sophisticated devices with weaker signals and so there is "much less potential to cause interference."

The advisory group wrote that under the current ban on all electronic devices, a "nonstandard system" could develop of individual rules from separate airlines which would "confuse the public" and damage "confidence in the FAA".

The FAA currently demands that airlines test every device used below 10,000 feet to make sure there's no electromagnetic interference. The practical demands mean that most airlines simply ban every device.

An FAA spokesman said: "The FAA recognises consumers are intensely interested in the use of personal electronics aboard aircraft; that is why we tasked a government-industry group to examine the safety issues and the feasibility of changing the current restrictions."


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