Europe widens in-flight use of portable electronics
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said Friday it had authorised airlines to allow passengers to use mobile electronic devices, including phones, throughout the flight.
The move allows European airlines which first carry out a safety assessment to permit portable electronic devices such as smartphones to stay switched on without being on "airplane mode", it said in a statement.
Other such devices include tablets, laptops, e-readers and MP3 players.
"This is the latest regulatory step towards enabling the ability to offer 'gage-to-gate' telecommunication or Wi-Fi services," the EASA said in a statement.
It will be up to each airline to decide to allow their use, it added.
"In order to do this, the airline will have to go through an assessment process, ensuring aircraft systems are not affected in any way by the transmission signals from the PEDs", or personal electronic devices, it said.
"For this reason, there may be differences among airlines whether and when PEDs can be used."
Last November EASA said it would follow the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States and similarly relax its rules by allowing the use of a range of mobile electronic devices in flight with very few restrictions.
It said at that time however that the devices must be used only when the "flight mode" or "airplane mode" is switched on.
© 2014 AFP