A European regulator has now determined that cell phone use does not present an aircraft safety risk.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has now determined that mobile technology such as cell phones do not pose an aircraft safety risk, which means that airlines regulated by that authority will be able to allow their passengers to be able to use their devices throughout the length of their flights.
Mobile devices were previously required to be switched to “airplane mode” during take-off and landing.
Now that this ruling has been made by the EASA, mobile technology will not need to switch off all receivers and transmitters during those parts of a flight. This means that passengers will no longer be blocked from transmitting data, making phone calls, or sending texts even during the time in which the plan is taking off or landing. That said, the EASA has also made recommendations to airlines with regards to how their own rules can be appropriately changed.
This guidance allows airlines to permit mobile technology to be utilized “throughout the flight”.
That said, from this point on, it will be up to the airline to decide whether or not mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets will be permitted to be used at various points during the flight. Each company will need to review its own processes to decide whether or not they feel that their own aircraft systems will remain unaffected by any of the various types of transmission signals that can be generated by mobile gadgets.
Once the airlines have finished their own safety assessments, they will be required to install new equipment into their aircraft in order to actually provide passengers with a signal, if they wish to offer that type of service, as transmitters for cell phones are not accessible by mobile devices that are as high as the standard cruising altitudes of commercial flights.
A spokesperson for the EASA, Ilias Maragakis, stated that the most recent guidance that was being provided to airlines with regards to onboard mobile technology usage policies was “more about being able to offer gate-to-gate services.”