A civil aviation administration of china official said on Monday that the ban on the use of portable electronic devices on aircraft will be lifted starting Oct 1, allowing airlines to decide how to implement the rule on the basis of their own security assessments. Thepaper.cn commented on Tuesday:
The latest revision in the management of portable electronic devices on aircraft probably means passengers will be free to use mobile electronic devices on Chinese flights. In 1999, China's aviation authority banned the use of any portable electronic devices on planes, because wireless signals were considered a hazard to flight safety.
Whether passengers should be allowed to use electronic devices on a flight has been debated ever since. Those arguing for the unrestricted use of electronic gadgets say that airlines in the West have given the green light to it as long as the devices are in flight mode. Even the United States, which proposed and carried through the ban on personal electronic devices on planes, officially annulled the restriction three years ago.
Like many countries, over the past decades, China has adopted many US civil aviation codes including the policy of no-electronic devices. But the ban, which the US Federal Communications Commission said was introduced to avoid causing possible disruptions to an aircraft's electronics, had been constantly and widely questioned as there was no evidence supporting it.
Later research by the FCC found that most commercial flights are undisturbed by the electronic waves from portable electronic devices. And the aviation authorities of Canada, Singapore and the European Union have since terminated the ban on the use of personal electronic gadgets.
China did not seek to remove the ban until recently, and those using electronic devices or leaving them on during a flight could face hefty fines, even detention. Such rigid adherence to the old aviation codes may be unnecessary, not least when many of them have since become obsolete.
It makes perfect sense to put flight safety before anything else. But adjustments should also be made to improve the flight experience. In that sense, it is time to lift the ban on the use of personal electronic devices on board aircraft.