China may allow air travelers to use phones in flight mode by 2016
Updated: 2014-09-30 09:09
Chinese airline travelers might be permitted to use mobile phones with in-flight Wi-Fi in 2016, as long as they are in flight mode, although progress still lags behind the rest of the world, the Beijing Times reported.
Zhou Hong, an aviation communication expert, said the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has been exploring the possibility of air travelers using electronic devices at a height of more than 3,000 meters.
It's estimated that the result will come out in 2016, and it will likely be approved, he said.
China's major airlines and telecommunication companies have been preparing an alliance to conduct research into making phone calls during flights, said He Guili, head of China Telecom Technology Labs under the Ministry of Information and Industry Technology.
He said the main obstacle lies in the compatibility between mobile signals and aircraft electronic navigation systems, but that two solutions offered are already technically mature.
During a test on July 23, about 80 passengers were invited to use China's first onboard Wi-Fi service on a China Eastern Airlines flight between Shanghai and Beijing. They were only allowed to use iPads and laptops, however.
Compared to the boom of Wi-Fi service abroad, the service in China is still in the start-up stage, and has not yet been put into mass commercial use.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has just announced that airlines can now permit passengers to use electronic devices such as mobile phones during flights.
It said electronic devices do not pose a safety risk,
and that airlines can allow passengers to use mobile phones once they have conducted their own safety reviews.