The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced its decision today to allow air passengers to use most Personal Electronic Devices (PED) from takeoff to landing. The decision was based on recommendations from the PED Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC). This advisory panel, comprised of representatives from air carriers, aviation manufacturers, pilots and flight attendants union, and tech industry, studied whether it was safe for passengers to use electronics during all segments of a flight and concluded that PED use could be safely expanded.
An FAA Information for Operators (InFO) document provides guidance for operators to expand passenger use of Portable Electronic Devices during additional phases of flight. The FAA states that the new information will enable carriers to “allow passengers to safely use their devices in airplane mode, gate-to-gate, by the end of the year.”
InFO 10310 “Expanding Use of Passenger Portable Electronic Devices (PED)” and its associated documents provide an FAA-acceptable method of expanding PED use while remaining in compliance with applicable regulations, including § § 91.21 and 135.144. The FAA also published corresponding inspector guidance in Notice 8900.240.
The FAA places responsibility on the aircraft operator for the determination that PEDs are safe to use. All operators should already have a documented PED policy identifying what types of devices are permitted to be used during specific phases of flight. The new materials are intended to offer operators a compliant method to increase PED use through the FAA-provided review process.
Opportunities to expand PED use do not affect FCC regulations prohibiting the use of cellular services while in flight. Therefore, in general, during flight PEDs must be placed in a mode where cellular communications are disabled. On aircraft equipped with Wi-Fi, it is possible for devices to be operated in a “Wi-Fi only mode.” Operators will need to address in their PED policy acceptable times for passengers to turn on PEDs and connect through wireless services.
A detailed job aid (InFO 10310SUP) is available to help operators determine when expanded PED use is appropriate and develop necessary policies.
NATA welcomes the opportunity for members to permit expanded passenger use of PEDs. Operators are encouraged to review all applicable documents to begin the process to revise their PED use policies, if desired.
InFO 10310 “Expanding Use of Passenger Portable Electronic Devices (PED)”
InFO 10310SUP Aid for Operators
Notice 8900.240 Expanded Use of Passenger Portable ElectronicDevices (PED)
PED ARC Report. The 222-page report can be found here. A fact sheet about the report is here.
FAA Press Release, FAQ and other supporting documents are available at http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/ped/.
The agency expects many carriers will prove to the FAA that their planes allow passengers to safely use their devices in airplane mode, gate-to-gate, by the end of the year.
It will study the current PED policies and procedures aircraft operators use to determine when these devices can be used safely during flight.