Australia allows use of mobile devices in-flight during taxiing, take-off and landing

Passengers on Qantas and Virgin Australia are allowed from Tuesday to use mobile electronic devices in-flight with limited restrictions after a relaxation of the rules by the country's aviation authority. -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG
Passengers on Qantas and Virgin Australia are allowed from Tuesday to use mobile electronic devices in-flight with limited restrictions after a relaxation of the rules by the country's aviation authority. -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SYDNEY (AFP) - Passengers on Qantas and Virgin Australia are allowed from Tuesday to use mobile electronic devices in-flight with limited restrictions after a relaxation of the rules by the country's aviation authority.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) move, which followed similar decisions by the US and European Union last year, allows passengers to have their devices on "flight mode" during taxiing, take-off and landing.

This disables cellular service, so passengers will still not be able to make calls or send texts.

"The results of (work done in the United States and Europe) were released late last year and earlier this year and it basically concluded that modern aircraft are not at risk of interference from modern mobile phones, tablets, e-readers and so forth," CASA spokesman Peter Gibson said.

"Once you have assessed that there are no safety issues, there's no reason to put people through that inconvenience... of having to turn their devices off and turn it back on again."

Previous regulations banned the use of electronics during taxiing, take-off and landing due to fears they could interfere with an airplane's navigation equipment.

The changes took effect for Qantas' and Virgin Australia's domestic and international flights.

Qantas said it had "conducted rigorous testing to assess the impacts of electronic devices on the safe operation of aircraft".