Sunday, 13 July 2014

CAAS eases rules on electronics in flights

With the change in rules, passengers on approved local airlines will get more leeway to use their electronic devices during flights.
By Olivia Siong, Channel NewsAsia, 11 Jul 2014

Passengers on approved local airlines will now get more leeway to use electronic devices, like mobile phones and tablets, on flights, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said.

In a statement issued on Friday (July 11), the CAAS said it has amended its regulations to allow Singapore carriers to expand passenger use of such devices on more segments of the flight, including during take-off and landing.

Passengers will now be allowed to use transmitting devices, such as mobile phones and tablets, provided the device is set to flight mode. Those who want to use the device in non-flight mode will have to wait until the plane is cruising above 10,000 feet.

Unintentionally transmitting devices, such as electronic games and cameras, will now be allowed throughout the flight, including during taxiing, take-off and landing. Previously, they were only allowed to be used when the plane is cruising above 10,000 feet.

Voice calls using mobile phones will still be strictly prohibited as voice communications, requiring strong signals to be sent out for receipt at great distances, may interfere with the aircraft systems, CAAS said.

Local carriers will have to ensure that their aircraft meet the certification requirements and conduct the necessary safety risk assessments, the authority said. This is to ensure that the use of such devices do not interfere with the performance of the aircraft navigation or communication systems.

Mr Yap Ong Heng, Director-General of CAAS, said: “CAAS regularly reviews its regulations taking into account the evolving needs of the travelling public and aviation industry, and technological developments.” He added that many of the Singapore carriers are already taking steps to ensure there would be no interference to flight operations before proceeding with implementation.

Singapore Airlines, the only airline currently approved to implement the new regulations, said it welcomed the move. "More and more of our customers are now travelling with portable electronic devices, and we are pleased to have implemented this for the benefit of our customers,” Mr Tan Pee Teck, Senior Vice-President of Product and Services said.

Safety remains the airline’s top priority, he said, adding that cabin crew will ensure passengers are advised on the safe use of electronic devices during flights.

The new regulations took effect on May 31 and are in line with recent regulatory changes made by leading aviation authorities, the CAAS statement said.

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