CAA announces new passenger regulations

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Mar 11, 2015 - Page 3

The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) yesterday said that air passengers are now banned from carrying lighters producing blue flames on board aircraft, adding that they must carry portable chargers in their carry-on luggage or in their pockets.

The new regulations officially came into effect on Monday.

CAA air transport division director Han Chen-hua (韓振華) said that passengers are allowed to carry one small cigarette lighter in their pocket for personal use.

“However, some passengers have been bringing torch lighters — which produce a blue flame and are normally used for cooking — on board aircraft. We have consulted regulators in the US, Canada and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and decided to enforce a ban on such items on all flights from Taiwan,” Han said.

The CAA said passengers are not allowed to place lighters producing blue flames in their check-in or carry-on luggage. Nor are they permitted to carry such lighters in their pockets.

Han said that many nations have yet to ban passengers from carrying electronic cigarettes on board aircraft, but passengers are advised to keep them in their pockets as they contain inflammable substances.

The CAA has also introduced new rules governing the carriage of portable electronic devices containing lithium metal, lithium ion cells or batteries, which were previously banned from being placed in check-in luggage.

However, passengers may now carry such items in check-in or carry-on luggage as well as in their pockets, but batteries containing lithium metal must weigh less than 2g or have a power output of less than 100 watts.

When electronic devices using lithium batteries are placed in check-in luggage, passengers must ensure that such devices cannot be activated by accident.

As different airlines have different regulations, passengers are advised to contact their airline companies before traveling to avoid any confusion.

CAA flight standards division director Lin Chun-liang (林俊良) said that passengers would soon be able to use mobile phones on domestic and international flights if they switch their mobile phones to “airplane mode.”

“We are scheduled to announce regulations regarding cellphone usage at the end of next month,” Lin said.

Domestic flight passengers are banned from using mobile phones throughout the flight at present, while international flight passengers are only allowed to use mobile phones in airplane mode when the aircraft reaches an altitude of 10,000 feet.

The amendment in the Civil Aviation Act (民航法), which was passed at the legislature earlier this year, would allow passengers to use their smartphones in airplane mode throughout the flight, adding that airlines would still determine whether usage during takeoff and landing is permitted, Lin said.

The amendment also authorizes pilots to decide if passengers may use mobile phones to make phone calls or send text messages during long delays or emergency situations, Lin said.

However, the amendment only applies to aircraft that are shielded from interference from electromagnetic waves generated by mobile phones or other devices — it does not apply to some older aircraft, such as Dornier 228 airplanes, Lin added.