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Airline Passenger Experience Association Applauds FAA’s Announcement that Airlines Can Safely Allow

Thursday, October 31, 2013  
Airline Passenger Experience Association Applauds FAA’s Announcement that Airlines Can Safely Allow Expanded Use of Portable Electronic Devices Inflight

(NEW YORK) – The Federal Aviation Administration’s announcement today that airlines can allow passengers greater freedom to use their portable electronic devices (PEDs) during flight is welcome news for travelers and a great step forward in enhancing the airline passenger experience, said the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX), an international trade association.

APEX welcomed the announcement, which was the result of recommendations from a federally appointed committee. The FAA Portable Electronic Device (PED) Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) consisted of 28 subject matter experts, including two APEX representatives: Rich Salter of Lumexis, and Michael Childers, a member of the APEX Board of Directors. Childers also chairs the APEX Technology Committee. The ARC recommended that airline passengers aboard PED-tolerant aircraft be permitted to use electronic devices during all phases of flight – including taxiing, take-off and landing, which has long been prohibited.

The ARC deliberated for eight months before issuing its report.

The ARC affirmed that the potential risk of PED emissions interfering with cockpit avionics has decreased as the radio interference resistance of new commercial airplanes has greatly improved, Salter said. “Yet, there are still some aircraft that are flying with older instrumentation. Therefore, we recommended new assessment procedures that the FAA would provide to commercial airlines to help them verify that their aircraft are resilient to radio interference.”

According to Salter and Childers, who are on the leadership team of the APEX Technology Committee, the ARC affirmed that the certification procedures found in a document called DO-307, issued several years ago by the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RCTA) at the request of the FAA, remain the most effective means by which such determinations might be made.

“We are pleased and proud to have contributed to the ARC’s thorough and careful review of the data and public comments on this issue and in formulating the recommendations to FAA,” Salter said. “The deliberations by the ARC clearly showed that gate-to-gate PED use on planes can be allowed without compromising passenger safety – provided the aircraft are shown to be tolerant of PED radio interference, which is a straightforward approval procedure.”

The ARC’s report noted that the test procedures in DO-307 or equivalent FAA safety risk assessment would be the most effective means for airlines to assure all of their aircraft – newly manufactured and those with older instrumentation – are not susceptive to interference from PEDs.

Chris Peterson, Communications Specialist, APEX

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