CAA reiterates ban on in-flight mobile phones and PDAs

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Wed, Oct 10, 2007 - Page 2

The nation's Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) reiterated yesterday that the use of mobile phones is prohibited during flights.

CAA Vice Director Lin Shinn-der (林信得) said the Civil Aviation Act (民用航空法) has listed mobile phones, personal digital assistants (PDA) equipped with mobile phone functionality and laptop computers installed with wireless communication cards and other similar electronic devices as capable of interfering with in-flight aviation communication.

"Passengers are not allowed to use all the stated devices during domestic flights," he said. "Those taking international flights must not use them during takeoff and landing or anywhere below 10,000 feet [3,000m] in altitude, either."

Lin said some manufacturers claim that mobile phones will not disrupt flight safety when the device is switched to flight mode. The claim has yet to be recognized by aviation authorities.

The statement was made in response to a news report published in yesterday's edition of the Chinese-language China Times, which said some European authorities allow the use of mobile phones on flights.

Lin stressed that no country in the world allows passengers to use mobile phones. He said an accident occurred a few years ago where the pilot found that the plane slightly deviated from the designated course. Later, the flight crews found that a passenger was using his mobile phone. When the phone was turned off, the plane was then put back on the right track, he said.

While Lin was familiar with the in-flight telecommunication service provider OnAir, he said the service had not been widely used among flight carriers.