China removes the ban on portable electronic devices onboard

Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) will allow using specified PEDs (portable electronic devices) onboard.

On September 18, in the routine press conference of CAAC, Zhu Tao, the vice leader of the Flight Standards Department, said that the Ministry of Transport recently passed the fifth amendment of the Approval Rules on Operation Qualification of Large Aircraft Public Air Transport Carrier (CCAR-121, hereinafter referred to as the “Rules”), which would be implemented in October 2017.

The revision relaxed the requirements for PEDs, allowed airlines themselves to assess the impact and made appropriate management and usage policies.

In this regard, Zhu Tao said that the airlines can decide the types of PEDs that can be used onboard according to the assessment. The Government removes the ban and transfers the power to the airlines. The Flight Standards Department has developed corresponding assessment methods to review airlines’ applications. “I believe that in the near future, you will see specified PEDs used on Chinese airlines,” Zhu Tao said.

According to the fourth amendments of the “Rules” in April 2016, “from the moment the cabin door is closed to start flying till it is opened at the end of the flight, No certificate holder may allow any occupant to open and use, or may any individual open and use portable electronic equipment transmitting radio signals irrelevant to the normal flying of airplane.”

This electronic equipment includes:

  • mobile phones;
  • walkie-talkie;
  • remote-controlled toys and other electronic equipment with remote control devices;
  • other radio-transmitting devices that CAAC authority or the certificate holder considers likely to interfere with safe operation of airplane.

Except PEDs, the fifth version of “Rules” made large-scale changes on management of crewmembers’ rest requirement, capability and training. Crewmembers’ fatigue is one important reason for unsafe events. The “Rules” refined this part in detail, highlighted the concept that fatigue is directly associated with human physiological rhythm and flight time,and reduced the total flight time in years.

In addition to extending the age limit for pilots who participated in the operation in line with the requirements of the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, the “Rules” also adjusted policies on prerequisite for pilot training and management of instructors, and cancelled relative requirements of flight engineers and flight radio operator.

For the flight attendants, the “Rules” adjusted the training programs and qualifications, added the time of initial training and recurrent training and requirement of the recency.

In addition, the “Rules” also revised the fuel management policy. It made specific requirements on fuel inspection and monitoring, specified the time to declare “Minimum Fuel” and “Emergency Fuel”, revised the fuel requirement for scheduled airplanes in line with the international code, and provided regulation support for carriers to optimize their fuel policies.

The “Rules” further clarified the requirements on the aircraft airworthiness and safety management, and formed closed-loop management to improve the operating safety during the late standard operation time, and to strengthen safety supervision on the “old airplanes”.

It is learned that the air carrier, which has already held a valid operating certificate before the implementation of the “Rules”, shall fully comply with the requirements of the amendment by 31 December, 2019.

This article originally appeared in The Paper and was translated by Pandaily.
Click here to read the original Chinese article.