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EU extends use of electronic devices on board

10 December, 2013

The EU`s Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) updated on Monday its guidance on the use of portable electronic devices on board (PED), including smartphones, tablets and e-readers, a press release of the EU Commission said.

The updated guidance confirms that these devices may be used in non-transmitting mode, better known as "flight mode" (non-transmitting mode) throughout the journey (including taxiing, take-off and landing) without a risk to safety. This is the first time that the use of personal electronic devices in flight mode is allowed in all phases of the journey, from gate to gate. Prior to this all personal electronic devices had to be completely turned off during taxiing, take-off and landing.

EU Transport Commissioner, Vice President Siim Kallas has asked EASA to accelerate its safety review of the use of electronic devices on board in transmitting mode, with new guidance expected to be published early in 2014, the press release said.

In general, airlines do not currently allow phone or wi-fi connection from the time the aircraft doors have closed until the aircraft has arrived at the gate and the doors are open again.

Connecting to the network is today only possible in specially equipped aircrafts that are able to connect you with a network (this can be permitted at cruising altitude). In those cases, a passenger does not connect to the ground network, but to a safety certified on-board system.

It is now up to every airline to update their operating rules and many are expected to do so in the coming weeks, the Commission said.