China is to lift a ban on the use of portable electronic devices on planes and allow airlines to make their own rules, the industry regulator said yesterday. That means passengers on Chinese airlines will soon be able to take pictures or enjoy in-flight Wi-Fi services on their smartphones.
The new regulation, to take effect from next month, asks domestic carriers to evaluate the impact of portable electronic devices on flights and come up with their own management policies, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said.
“I believe in the near future, passengers will be able to use portable electronic devices on Chinese airlines,” Zhu Tao, deputy director of the administration’s flight standards department told a press conference in Beijing.
Currently, the use of mobile phones is prohibited on flights by Chinese carriers as are intercoms, remote-control toys and other devices with remote-control or radio transmitting equipment.
Anyone flouting the rules is subject to fines of up to 50,000 yuan (USD 7,612).
Shanghai-based Spring Airlines said yesterday that its passengers would be able to use mobile phones on flights from next year.
“It has been a global trend for air passengers to use smartphones in the air,” said spokesman Zhang Wu’an.
However, airlines will have to first finish an evaluation, submit an application and get agreement from the administration before allowing passengers to use phones on flights, Zhang said. “Before that, passengers on flights with Chinese airlines still have to obey the current regulation to turn off mobile phones during flights.”
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