Laptops, MP3s can now be used inflight – CAAP
MANILA (AFP) – The Philippines’ civil aviation authority said Tuesday it would allow passengers to use mobile phones and laptops to make calls and access the Internet during flights.
Civil aviation director general William Hotchkiss said the order covered “transmitting portable electronic devices”.
With immediate effect, the move will allow “people on board the aircraft conditional use of laptops, cellular phones, Internet or short-based-messaging service, voice communications and other broadband services during flights”, he said in a directive.
However, devices should still be turned off pre-flight, when the aircraft is refueling, and be switched to silent mode.
“The use of MP3s should always be with earphones and not with additional or separate speaker or amplifiers,” Hotchkiss added.
The United States and the European Union have also said they will relax restrictions on the use of mobile devices on planes. However there have been concerns that allowing voice calls would cause disturbance to other passengers.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) memorandum circular released on Tuesday allows conditional use of transmitting portable electronic devices (TPEDs), music players (MP3s), and global system for mobile communication on-board aircraft (GSMOBA) on all commercial aircraft operating within or en-route over the territorial jurisdiction of the Republic of the Philippines.
Hotchkiss said Memorandum Circular 52-13, Series of 2013 permits people on board an aircraft conditional use of laptops and cellular phones, internet or short-message-service (SMS) or voice communications and other broadband services during flights provided they meet the conditions set by the agency.
The conditions and limitations set by CAAP are:1) When the aircraft doors are still open – Use of laptops and cellular phones may be used, internet or short-message-service (SMS) or voice communications, unless the Pilot-In-Command and or Senior Cabin Crew would specifically announce on the public address system (PAS) its prohibition. However, laptops using broadband communications and cellular phone will never be allowed use when the aircraft is refueling. In this instance, all transmitting portable electronic devices must also be turned-off.2) When the aircraft doors are closed—Transmitting portable electronics devices (TPEDs), on silent mode, may be used only for short-message-service (SMS) or internet. Voice communications are not allowed except the use of GSMOBA provided its use does not interfere with the orderly conduct of flight. Games on electronic devices on silent mode may be played.3) The use of MP3s should always be with earphones and not with additional or separate speaker and or amplifiers.
CAAP said the memorandum circular will take effect 15 days after compliance with the single publication in a newspaper of general circulation and a copy filed with the UP Law Center-Office of the Administrative Register in UP, Diliman, Quezon City.
Use of TPEDs and other electronic devices while on board an aircraft were not allowed before as it was believed to interfere with the radio signal of the plane.
But, studies conducted by the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) found that using TPEDs while on board an aircraft does not interfere with the plane’s radio signals.
In fact, CAAP said the move will make travel more enjoyable especially on long-haul flights since passengers can do their own business while flying.
CAAP said a similar move was recommended by U.S. air authorities as early as November but still awaits approval of higher authorities. (With reports from Mabuhay News Service)