Australian Airlines To Allow Use Of Mobile Devices During Take Off and Landing

Australian Airlines To Allow Use Of Mobile Devices During Take Off and Landing

Turns out having your mobile device switched on during take off and landing isn’t as unsafe as we were lead to believe.

Following the decision of air safety authorities in the US and Europe to allow mobile use during take off and landing last year, you will soon be ale to do the same on Australian Airlines.

After investigating whether fears about the effects of electro-magnetic interference on navigation systems are still relevant, Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) concluded that it is no longer unsafe for mobile phones and tablet computers to be switched on during take-off and landing. However, this revised provision is limited to electronic devices weighing less than a kilogram, and devices need to remain in flight mode and cannot be used for calls, text or data from gate-to-gate.

Airlines will also need to satisfy CASA’s new regulatory guidelines, which include policies and procedures that ensure devices are properly stored and secured and that airlines have operational procedures in place to recognise, respond to and record events of electromagnetic interference.

If you’re travelling with Qantas anytime soon, you can expect to be able to leave your mobile device turned on within the next six to eight weeks. Qantas is the first airline to apply for approval under the new guidelines, with two other major Australian airlines expected to follow shortly according to iTnews.

Next Step: In-Flight Wireless Connectivity

While this is a step forward for mobile device use in the air on Australian airlines, in-flight wireless connectivity is still a long way off.

Australian airlines are still lagging when it comes to offering passengers proprietary in-flight internet connections. Most American Airlines (via GoGoAir), and Australia bound aircrafts from Emirates, Etihad and Singapore Airlines offer in-flight wifi.

While Qantas tested the waters in 2012 on its Airbus A380 flights between Sydney, Melbourne and Los Angeles, there simply was not enough interest from travellers at the time. In fact, only 5% of travellers connected to the service, which lead to Qantas abandoning the idea.

Despite this, there is still hope for future in-flight connectivity on Australian Airlines.

Telstra has already begun trialling a new 4G system capable of delivering broadband speeds to domestic flights. Called Telstra Skinet, the test network covers most of the commercial air route between Sydney and Melbourne using four dedicated base stations.

Results thus far seem to be promising, with Mike Wright, Telstra executive director stating in a blog post that Telstra was able to “achieve a maximum data throughput of 15Mbps, with an average throughput around 10Mbps.”

Additional tests are planned for later this year with the aim of “building a nationwide, commercial (high-speed) network in the sky” according to Telstra. However, this service could take two years to be implemented for passengers.