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CAAP OKs use of cell phones, other gadgets on Phl flights

Philstar.com/File Photo

MANILA, Philippines - Airline passengers can now use their cellular phones and play “Candy Crush” on their gadgets while onboard an aircraft, as the Civil Aeronautics Board eased the guidelines on the use of transmitting portable electronic devices (TPED).

Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) director general William Hotchkiss III issued Memorandum Circular 52-13, which allows the conditional use of TPED, music player (MP3) and global system for mobile communication onboard aircraft (GSMOBA) on all commercial aircraft.

Hotchkiss said when the aircraft doors are still open, passengers can use laptops, cellular phones, Internet, short message service (SMS) or voice communications unless the pilot-in-command or the senior cabin crew announces their prohibition on the public address system.

Laptops using broadband communications and cellular phones should not be operated when the aircraft is re-fueling. “In this instance, all transmitting portable electronic devices must be turned off,“ Hotchkiss noted in the circular.

When the aircraft doors are closed, TPEDs on silent mode may be used but only for SMS or Internet. Voice calls are not allowed. The use of GSMOBA should not interfere with the orderly conduct of flight.

Hotchkiss also said games on electronic devices can be played but on silent mode, while music on MP3s should be heard through earphones and not with a separate speaker or amplifier.

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The circular would take effect 15 days after compliance with the single publication in a newspaper of general circulation.

Aviation regulators in other jurisdictions are shifting from the old belief that electromagnetic signals emitted by portable gadgets could interfere with navigation systems.

The US Federal Aviation Administration released its guidelines for the expanded use of electronic devices last Oct. 31 after its aviation rule-making committee concluded that most commercial airplanes can tolerate radio interference signals from portable electronic devices. – With Rudy Santos


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