Gadget restrictions to be eased for UK air passengers

Date: 13 December 2013

Airline passengers may soon be allowed to use electronic devices for the entire duration of a flight, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) confirmed today. Following recent regulatory approval, UK airlines will be able to seek permission from the CAA to allow their passengers to use portable electronic devices during taxi, take-off and landing.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), following the lead taken by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has recently published guidance for airlines to safely expand the use of devices such as tablets, smartphones, e-readers and MP3 players, potentially to all phases of flight – providing the devices are in ‘Flight’ or ‘Airplane’ Mode.

Individual European airlines have discretion on whether to use this guidance to change their current policy – which nominally prohibits the use of all devices during taxi, take-off and landing. Any change has to be approved by the airline’s national regulator, in the UK that is the CAA.
The expanded use of electronic devices will still be subject to flight crew approval on each flight, as in certain circumstances, their use might still need to be restricted. Any instructions from the aircraft crew must be followed by passengers at all times.

The use of devices that transmit electro-magnetic signals, such as mobile phones for voice calls and texts, and WiFi enabled laptop computers remain prohibited in flight unless the aircraft has been equipped with a controlling system. Aircraft crew will specifically advise which devices may be used during such flights.

The CAA will soon provide further details in an Information Notice for UK airlines explaining the process to follow.

For further press information, contact the CAA Press Office on: 0207 453 6030

Follow the CAA on Twitter @UK_CAA

Notes to Editors:

The CAA is the UK's specialist aviation regulator. Its activities include: making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards; preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency; planning and regulating all UK airspace; and regulating airports, air traffic services and airlines and providing advice on aviation policy from an economic standpoint.