Issue n° 157 - 13 December 2013

Mobility and transport

In the spotlight


EU extends the use of electronic devices on planes

The EU's Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has updated its guidance on the use of portable electronic devices on board (PED), including smartphones, tablets and e-readers.

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Commissioner' s corner

Speech - Portable electronic devices on planes

"We all like to stay connected while we are travelling. But up to now the big difference between the train and the plane has been that portable electronic devices likes smartphones and tablets had to be switched off for much of the journey."

Siim Kallas

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Figure of the month

820 million

Over 820 million passengers used EU airports in 2011, this is roughly one third of all passenges worldwide. 

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We were asked about...

In-flight calls

Thirty per cent of passengers admit that they have "accidentally" left a device on during take-off or landing.

At present, all electronic devices must be switched off at altitudes of less than 3 000 metres; however, the group of experts (which the FAA will follow) is calling for use throughout the flight (no need to switch devices off), but with certain restrictions, such as a ban on the use of Wi-Fi, 3G or incoming or outgoing calls during the crucial phases of take-off and landing.

Once the FAA has given its blessing, airlines will be free to relax their internal regulations. Given the demand from the passengers carried, one thing is certain: they will do so and Europe, via the EASA (the Old World’s FAA) is very likely to follow suit.

1. What is the Commission’s opinion on this?

2. Assuming that there is no danger, what about the disturbance caused by the proximity imposed on passengers in a confined space if in-flight telephone calls are allowed?

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