Friday, October 15, 2010

Now, switch on your cell after landing - India

NEW DELHI: Air travellers can now switch on their mobile phones the moment their aircraft lands at any Indian airport and exits the active runway. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation ( DGCA) on Friday night issued a directive to airlines, asking them to announce the lifting of restriction on mobiles post-landing and allow passengers to do so latest by next Wednesday.

However, the ban on use of mobile phones at take off time will remain and passengers will have to switch the cells off when the crew announces. The order says passengers will not be allowed to use their mobiles only when low visibility conditions prevail at the airport they have landed at, which could include most north Indian cities in winter for 20-30 days. These restrictions remain as mobile phone signals could interfere with the cockpit's communication with ATC and have safety implications.

Currently after landing, cabin crew announces that passengers should keep their phones off till the aircraft is taxiing. Now airlines have been asked to suitably amend this announcement. The rule on landing has been changed mainly due to demand from passenger groups. A substantial chunk of passengers have to coordinate with those who have been waiting to receive them at airports, whether it's their drivers, relatives or cabbies.

"We used to turn a blind eye after landing as majority of passengers would switch on their phones soon after touchdown to coordinate with those who have come to pick them up. The crew often complained to us but we would tell them to announce that phones be kept off but remain seated on crew seats to avoid any ugly showdown after a good flight. It's better to have rules that can be followed," said a senior commander.

Read more: Now, switch on your cell after landing - The Times of India

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