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MANILA, Philippines – The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said Tuesday, December 31, that it will allow plane passengers to use mobile phones and laptops to connect to the world, but still banned phone calls as soon as doors close. Old regulations allowed the use of electronic devices on planes without connectivity.
In memorandum circular 52-13, the CAAP laid out the conditions and limitations of use of the electronic devices on flights.
When the aircraft’s doors are still open, laptops and cellular phones may be used. These devices can be used to access the Internet and send and receive text (SMS) messages. Voice communications are allowed at this point.
When the aircraft is refuelling, “all transmitting portable electronic devices must be turned-off.” The memo said this includes laptops using broadband communications and cellular phone use.
When the aircraft’s doors are closed, transmittable electronic devices must be put on silent mode, and can be used to send and receive text messages and connect to the Internet. Voice communications are banned at this point.
MP3s, previously allowed under the old regulations, should be used with earphones and not used “with additional speakers or amplifiers.”
The United States and the European Union earlier relaxed restrictions on the use of mobile devices on planes.
Like SMS and Internet use, voice calls do not pose a danger on board flights. Concerns have been raised that allowing phone calls may disturb other passengers.
The new rule takes effect 15 days after publication in a newspaper of general circulation and a copy filed with the UP Law Center-Office of the Administrative Register in the University of the Philippines. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com