Airlines to revise manuals on cell phones, laptops
MANILA, Philippines—Commercial airlines are expected to revise their manuals to implement an order by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap) removing restrictions on the use of cell phones and laptops on board planes within the country’s territorial jurisdiction.
Caap deputy director John Andrews told reporters that airlines will make changes in their internal rules, which would have to be relayed to their customers.
“We just removed the restriction on the use of electronic gadgets on our civil aviation rules. It would be up to the airlines to implement it [the way they want to]. Passengers cannot invoke the Caap order yet. They would have to wait for guidelines from their airlines first,” he said.
Cebu Pacific, which has received a copy of the memorandum, “will revise its manuals and procedures in accordance with the Caap memo,” Jorenz Tañada, the airline’s vice president for corporate affairs, said in a text message.
Tigerair Philippines president Olive Ramos also said the airline is ready to comply with the memo and will be coming out with its own regulations.
“[Electronic gadgets] should not be used during takeoff and landing. Also, the use of gadgets and phones should not create annoying sound, noise or distraction during flight,” she said in a text message.
Andrews agreed, saying the airlines are given the discretion to create their own rules on the use of laptops and phones on board planes.
“Gadgets should be on silent mode and earphones should be used on MP3 players so that we would not disturb other passengers. The gadgets shouldn’t be used during takeoff or landing so passengers can pay full attention to instructions from the pilot and cabin crew. Also, if something happens during the takeoff or landing, those gadgets can be turned into missiles and hurt others,” he said.
For safety reasons, gadgets should be turned off while the plane is refueling, he said.
Andrews also allayed fears that cell phones and laptops might be used to trigger bombs or be disguised as bombs.
“There are many layers of security in our airports and it would be difficult to smuggle a bomb on a plane. Also, you can’t trigger a bomb if the plane is 10,000 feet in the air and there’s no cell phone signal,” he said.
The Caap memo covered gadgets of the following categories: the transmitting portable electronic devices; music player; and global system for mobile communication on board aircraft.
The agency issued the memo after airlines in the United States, Europe and other countries began allowing the conditional use of electronic gadgets on board commercial aircraft.
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