CAAP Lifts Ban on Mobile Device Use on Planes

But no phone calls, please! 

31 December 2013

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has allowed the limited use of cellular phones by passengers as well as “conditional” Internet connection on mobile phones, laptops and other handheld devices with broadband services during flights as long as they are “judiciously done,” Philippine authorities said on Tuesday.

"We are removing the restriction on the use of cellphones since we believe we know it does not impair the safety of flights. There's no safety issue involved. Now the airlines will either have to comply with it or make their own adjustments as far as the restriction is concerned," CAAP Deputy Director General John Andrews said.

Memorandum Circular 52-13 was issued by the regulator Tuesday to cover the conditional use of transmitting portable electronic devices (TPED), music players, and global system for mobile communication on-board aircraft (GSMOBA) on all commercial aircrafts operating within or en-route over the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines.

The Order came after the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) determined that airlines can safely expand passenger use of Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) during all phases of flight last October 31.

The FAA decision is based on input from the PED Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) which concluded that most commercial airplanes can tolerate radio interference signals from PEDs

Passengers will be allowed to use laptops, internet or short-message-service (SMS) or voice communications, and other broadband services while on board an aircraft except for voice calls.

Restrictions on use of all mobile devices is however imposed when the aircraft is re-fuelling, and must remain in silent mode when the aircraft doors are closed. The use of MP3 players will only be allowed with earphones and not with additional or separate speaker and/or amplifiers.

The ban on mobile devices has been in effect since the early 1990s, when cellphones was developed.

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