The US government could lift the ban on in-flight electronic device use as soon as 2014, news reports have suggested. The new rules would apply to flights below 10,000 feet, allowing passengers to use their tablets, e-readers and laptops throughout the entire flight.
In the next few days, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), an operating mode of the U.S. Department of Transportation, is set to receive advice about allowing greater use of personal electronic devices (PEDs) on aircrafts.
According to industry sources, these recommendations will be coming from a 28-person advisory committee drawn from government-appointed experts, including specialists from within the aviation and consumer electronics industries.
"The FAA recognises consumers are intensely interested in the use of personal electronics aboard aircraft; that is why we tasked a government-industry group to examine the safety issues and the feasibility of changing the current restrictions," the FAA stated in June.
The ban on in-flight electronic device use goes back to 1998, when a near-crash of a Qantas jumbo jet Heathrow airport was said to have been caused by someone on the plane using a mobile phone.
According to the Guardian, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is “waiting for the full report to be published” by the FAA. “The issue obviously affects international aviation, and we are looking forward to reading the FAA’s recommendations. It is, however, only talking about low-emission devices like Kindles and Wi-Fi tablets, not cellularly connected devices like phones,” commented a CAA spokesperson talking to the newspaper.
When asked how long a response from the CAA could take to the report and begin any implementation, should the CAA agree with the FAA’s committee’s findings, the CAA said it would take “months, not years.”
JustCall spokesperson comments: “These new rules are more than likely to alter the way internet services operate on UK flights, they may also affect standards for electronic device manufacturers.”
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