FCC Chairman Petitions the FAA to Relax Airline Tablet Use Rules

Posted by at 10:27 am on December 7, 2012

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski is petitioning the Federal Aviation Administraion (FAA) chief, Michael Huerta, to “enable greater use of tablets, e-readers, and other portable devices” during flights in a letter sent on Thursday. Genachowski has pledged to work with the FAA, airlines, and manufacturers to review policies and guidance on in-flight use of the devices.

“This review comes at a time of tremendous innovation, as mobile devices are increasingly interwoven in our daily lives,” Genachowski writes. “They empower people to stay informed and connected with friends and family, and they enable both large and small businesses to be more productive and efficient, helping drive economic growth and boost US competitiveness.”

Over the summer, the FAA formed a combined government and industry group to study the commercial aviation policies on portable electronic device use in flight. While a large number of devices are being examined for use, the group is not considering the airborne use of cell phones for private voice communications during flight

FAA administrator Michael Huerta said that the agency is “looking for information to help air carriers and operators decide if they can allow more widespread use of electronic devices in today’s aircraft. We also want solid safety data to make sure tomorrow’s aircraft designs are protected from interference.”

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