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DGCA draft rules for WiFi access on flights

Cabin crew will keep watch to ensure compliance with norms on the use of devices.   | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Air travellers could face punitive action from airlines if they do not follow rules on handling portable electronic devices such as smartphones and laptops, aviation regulatory body DGCA has proposed in its draft rules on implementation of in-flight WiFi connectivity.

The draft rules govern the use of portable electronic devices in order to access internet during a flight. The proposed rules state the electronic devices can only be used when an aircraft is at a cruising height of 3,000 feet or above. Mobile phones, tablets and laptops can only be used in flight mode, while all other gadgets such as portable voice recorders, electronic entertainment devices and electric shavers need to be stowed away.

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“Cabin crew, besides their other duties, during the flight shall keep a watch on the passengers to ensure compliance of the above prohibitory requirements. Any violation of these requirements during the flight should be brought to the notice of the Commander by the cabin crew and recorded in the flight report book for subsequent action by the operator against the defaulting person,” according to the draft rules made public on Wednesday. The DGCA has invited comments for a period of 30 days from all stakeholders before the proposal is finalised.

A senior DGCA official said that this was the first time the government has proposed detailed protocols for handling of portable electronic devices inside an aircraft. The official added that rules prescribed for unruly passengers may be applied if there is a violation of these protocols. Passengers face a ban on flying for three months for verbal assault, six months for physical assault and two years for hampering the safety of the aircraft and other passengers.

The draft rules have been framed more than 18 months after the Department of Telecommunication authorised the use of wireless voice or data or both types of telegraph messages on aircraft and sea vessels.


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Printable version | Aug 6, 2021 4:49:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/dgca-draft-rules-for-wifi-access-on-flights/article32459816.ece

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