Airline passengers could be allowed to use their mobile phones throughout the entire flight when travelling on Chinese airlines, Beijing Times reported on September 29. The new functionality is expected to be rolled out in 2016.
The report came on heels of a decision by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to lift a ban that prohibits passengers from using mobile phones during flights.
Passengers travelling with Chinese airlines are currently required to keep their mobile phones off for the entire flight to stop the devices from emitting radio signals that could, at least theoretically, interfere with the aircraft’s navigation system. This means even airplane mode is not allowed, although many countries in Europe and the Americas permit their travellers to put devices in airplane mode during flights.
The new rule, if passed would allow travellers to use their phones in airplane mode when flying at or above 3,000 meters. Zhou Hong, an aviation expert, said the new bill will likely pass.
The loosening on phone use during flights could also pave the way for onboard WiFi services in the country, the report said. Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines are testing inflight WiFi systems and phone calls. The country’s telecommunication companies are also working with Chinese airlines to study the possibility of making phone calls during flights, said He Guili, director of Tai’er Lab under the Ministry of Information and Industry Technology.
Photos: College Humor