Canada Approves In-Flight Mobile Usage during Takeoff and Landing

by Matt Klassen on May 28, 2014

Despite the fact that American and British airlines have allowed passengers unrestricted use of their mobile devices throughout flights for several months now, their Canadian counterparts have continued to steadfastly insist that all devices be turned off during key parts of any airline journey. That’s all about to change, however, as the Canadian government announced revisions to the Canadian Aviation Regulations that will permit the use of mobile devices during takeoff and landings.

The news comes with one distinct caveat, though, as the new measures specify that the device must be in airplane mode—that is, no Wi-Fi or cellular access—while the aircraft takes off, climbs, descends, and lands, and demands that the airline carriers themselves meet certain safety criteria set forth by Transport Canada.

While you’ll be able to connect your mobile device once the plane is airborne, and if the aircraft has internet access (that you’re willing to pay heavily for) of course, this latest revision means that business travellers and those simply addicted to their mobile devices won’t have to ever put them aside, allowing them to annoy their neighbours throughout the entirety of any flight…hurray for progress!

Since the dawn of cellular communication there has existed the concern that signals from a mobile device could potentially interfere with an aircraft’s critical radio systems, but more recent studies have shown such concerns to be largely unsubstantiated. Such findings prompted regulators in American and the UK to modify in-flight rules to accommodate the modern passenger, and now Canada is looking to follow suit.

“This is great news for air passengers, and an exciting day for the Canadian aviation industry,” Canadian Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt said in a statement. “By collaborating with our aviation partners, we are able to offer airlines the tools they need to safely enable passengers to use portable electronic devices on airplanes, while still maintaining the highest standards of aviation safety.”

While this decision certainly opens the door for a new epoch of in-flight mobile usage, the decision is only at the policy stage, meaning it will still be up to each airline company in Canada to meet the necessary revised security requirements and put the policy into effect.

As with the FAA’s ruling in the U.S., however, don’t expect this forward-thinking tech policy to be immediately implemented. Air Canada has said it is “finalizing measures” that will allow it to safely incorporate the new rules, while Canadian budget carrier WestJet expects to implement the new policy “early this summer.”

While some may decry the loosening of such restrictions as removing the last vestiges of mobile silence from our world, for those who would rather not stop working (or playing those addictive mobile games) during certain periods of a flight, this new policy will certainly come as good news.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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