Passengers can use mobile phones right after landing

Rules relaxed

Passengers can use mobile phones right after landing

Air passengers can now use their mobile phones soon after the landing of the aircraft, instead of waiting till the boarding gates are open.

The Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Monday said it will allow air passengers to use cell phones after the aircraft lands and clears the active runway.

“The DGCA has amended the Rule 29B of Aircraft Rules to provide for the use of cellular phones by passengers after the aircraft has landed and cleared the active runway, except in cases when low visibility conditions exist at the airport,” said an official statement. Now, the use of mobile phones is allowed only after the aircraft comes to a complete halt and boarding gates are opened so that their signals do not disturb the communication between the cockpit and air traffic control.

Official sources said the DGCA reviewed the issue recently in the light of the demand from passengers as well as their general tendency to switch on their cell phones immediately after landing, without waiting for the aircraft to come to a complete halt.

It was found that in certain airports like Delhi, the taxiing could take a long time, some times up to 40 minutes, testing the patience of passengers who desperately wait to switch on their handsets. The DGCA found that technically and from the security point of view, it was feasible to allow passengers to use their mobiles soon after landing.

According to the regulator, the pilot in command of the flight, after clearing the active runway and with no other runway or intersections to cross, in visual flight conditions, will intimate the cabin crew to announce that passengers were free to use cellular phones.

The crew may announce: “Passengers are advised that the use of mobile phones after landing is now allowed. Aircraft has left the active runway and has slowed down, passengers may use their mobile phones now.” The new procedure may be adopted at the earliest and not later than October 22. 

The present rule that no mobile usage will be allowed after the doors are closed during take-off will, however, prevail as it would interfere with signals of planes’ guiding mechanism.

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