China’s civil aviation authority said on Sept 18 that it will lift its ban on the use of portable electronic devices on aircraft, and airlines will make the decision themselves.
A newly revised administrative rule that will take effect in October said airline companies will be allowed to make their own assessments of the influence of portable electronic devices.
Airline companies will decide what electronic devices can be used on their planes, and make their own rules.
Since 1999, China’s aviation authority has banned the use of any portable electronic devices on the plane. It was thought the wireless signals from those could affect flight safety.
“But now, the government will give airlines the right to decide on their own,” said Zhu Tao, deputy director of the Department of Flight Standard of the Civil Aviation Administration of China.
“I believe we will see various Chinese airline companies allowing passengers to use portable electronic devices on planes in the near future.”
The reason for the change is that the anti-interference characteristics of aircraft have been enhanced, Li Yuan, an expert in civil aviation, was quoted as saying by the Beijing News.
Many foreign airlines have long allowed passengers to use certain electronic devices during a flight’s cruise phase, including phones and laptops.
Some Chinese airlines also allow laptops during the cruise phase, though they prohibit cellphones.
The CAAC also updated its physical requirements for selecting student pilots for civil aviation. The new rules took effect on Sept 10. Now, a student can qualify with a visual acuity higher than 4.0 on an E Snellen chart, compared with 4.5 in the past.
“This change was designed to recruit more talent that meets both the physical and knowledge demands pilots. It will have a positive and far-reaching effect on the development of the civil aviation industry,” Zhu said.