A passenger checks her cell phone before a flight

A passenger checks her cell phone before a flight

Canada clicks OK for use of airborne devices

No more stowing of electronic devices during takeoff and landing, says Raitt

By Terry Pedwell, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA – For tech-savvy travellers, flying the Canadian skies is about to get just a little bit friendlier.

The federal government is changing regulations to permit the use of video games, tablets, computers and cameras at any time during a flight, including during takeoff and landing, Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said Monday.

“We’re going to be allowing passengers to use portable electronic devices during takeoff, ascent, descent and landing provide that the airlines have met certain safety conditions,” Raitt told a news conference at the Ottawa airport.

Travellers still won’t be allowed to use cellphones or access WiFi, or use any device that hasn’t had its transmitting functions disabled, since such activity can interfere with aircraft systems, she added.

But as long as a device is in “airplane mode” and unable to send or receive a signal, its use will be permitted “gate to gate” — a change Raitt said is meant to strike a better balance between safety and passenger comfort.

Under the regulation exemption, airlines will also have to demonstrate that their aircraft are not affected by the devices and that passengers can still be made aware of crew instructions during emergencies.

The exemption takes effect immediately, although it will be up to individual airlines to determine when they are ready to adopt the change, said Raitt.

Canadian airlines were informed in advance that the rule change was being contemplated, giving them time to prepare for Monday’s announcement. Air Canada, for one, said it welcomes the decision.

“Our customers have been telling us they want the option to use their (personal electronic devices) at all times on board our aircraft, both for working and entertainment,” the airline said in a statement.

“Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge and its Air Canada Express regional partners are finalizing measures to safely implement the new procedures.”

A ban on using over-the-ears headphones, however, remains in effect on board Air Canada flights during the usual periods when passengers need to be able to hear announcements: takeoff, ascent, descent and landing.

WestJet said it had already completed comprehensive testing of the electronic systems aboard its next-generation Boeing 737 fleet to support the expanded use of personal electronic devices.

But more work is required to properly train flight crews, amend operating manuals and demonstrate that radio signals from devices don’t pose a risk to aircraft systems and equipment, the airline said.

Last year, the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority lifted its ban on the use of portable electronic devices under safe flying conditions.

Shortly afterward, all major U.S. airlines began allowing the gate-to-gate use of devices and the European Aviation Safety Agency quickly followed suit.

Canada’s move brings domestic carriers in line with other airlines around the world, Raitt added.

“It’ll ensure that Canadian operators can remain globally competitive.”

Just Posted

Mural artist Paul Archer will soon begin work on a piece on the rear of a building at 100 Burnside Road West. (Gorge Tillicum Community Association)
Back of Burnside building in Saanich to feature mural of hope and positivity

Artist Paul Archer says subject will inspire memories, depict children’s future, sunshine, flowers

Victoria Truth Centre and Long-term Inmates Now in the Community (L.I.N.C.) Society are hoping to replicate in Langford the format used on Emma’s Farm in Mission, pictured here. (Patrick Penner/Black Press Media)
Victoria Truth Centre hopes to grow transformative justice in Langford

Purchase proposal would see offenders, survivors and families work on organic vegetable farm

Tyson Muzzillo, regional manager of BC Cannabis Store, welcomes shoppers to their Uptown location, opening on June 16. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Government-run cannabis store opening at Saanich’s Uptown

BC Cannabis Store the first for government in Greater Victoria, 27th in province

The stretch of trail north of Royal Bay Secondary connecting to Painters Trail at Murray’s Pond will be closed temporarily this week for invasive species removal. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood trail behind Royal Bay Secondary temporarily closed for invasive species removal

Cloure in effect from 9 a.m. Wednesday to 10 a.m. Friday this week

Law Enforcement Torch Run in support of Special Olympics B.C. kicks off with a run at Swan Lake on June 6. The virtual fundraiser runs until June 20. (Saanich Police/Twitter)
Torch run seeks to scorch previous fundraiser, targets $75,000 for Special Olympics

Global movement shoots for 40,000 km in honour of the 40th anniversary

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

Most Read