The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is scrutinising the use of electronic devices during take-off and landing following the American Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) approval on 31 October.
The FAA ruled that devices such as ebooks, tablet computers and portable games consoles could be used “during all phases of flight”. Mobile phones will also be allowed, as long as their cellular radios are disabled or they are put into “airplane mode”.
“We will be 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,” said a CAA spokesperson talking to the Guardian.
The ultimate decision over the use of electronic devices during all phases of flight now lies with the pan-European body, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which oversees flight safety within Europe and has “responsibly for these kinds of airworthiness issues”, said the CAA.
The EASA will liaise with the CAA, as well as all the other European aviation authorities, to come to a final decision that is expected “relatively quickly” or “within months”.
Following EASA’s decision, the CAA can then implement the recommendation with individual airlines. Instead of a blanket change, the approval for use of electronic devices within take-off and landing will be made on an airline by airline basis.
Each airline that would like to allow the use of electronic devices during the entire flight will have to present “safety cases” to the CAA in the UK, as Delta Airlines has already done within the US to the FAA.
“The airlines now have access to new methodology for the safety testing of devices, which could be a relatively quick process, especially as some airlines are likely to have already done a fair bit of testing,” said the CAA.
A ruling from EASA on the use of electronic devices during all phases of flight is expected within the next couple of months and is anticipated to follow the lead of the FAA.