Following the American Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) recent approval of electronic device use during flights, regulators in the UK and Europe are considering lifting the ban of in-flight electrocic device use on this side of the pond.
On 31 October, the FFA ruled that e-books, tablet computers and portable games consoles could be used “during all phases of flight”. Furthermore, the use of mobile phones will also be allowed, under the condition that their cellular radios have been disabled or they have been put into “airplane mode”.
In a recent interview with the Guardian newspaper, a spokesperson for the UK Civil Aviation Authority's (CAA) stated that the organisation plans on “studying the review’s recommendations closely and discussing their implications directly with the FAA and also with the European Aviation Safety Agency, which will be responsible for deciding a Europe-wide response and next steps”.
While the media are reporting that Europe is likely to follow the US 'within months', the final say over the use of electronic devices during take-off and and landing will lie with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). As the body responsible for overseeing flight safety in Europe, the EASA will work with the CAA and other aviation authorities across the continent to come to a final decision “relatively quickly”.
Once EASA has reached a decision, the CAA will implement the recommendation on an airline by airline basis. Instead of applying a blanket charge, the CAA will give approval to individual airlines providing they have each presented a “safety case”.
The EASA is expected to make a ruling on the use of electronic devices during all phases of flight within the next couple of months and is anticipated to follow the lead of the FAA.