Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Business

November 3, 2013

In-flight cell phones: Others likely to follow FAA lead

American safety standards a 'gold standard.'

(Continued)

“That’s exactly the kind of situation that [the International Civil Aviation Organization] is trying to mitigate right now,” said spokesman Anthony Philbin. “Our main concern is that we don’t want to see separate regulations set in place in different places in the world.”

Philbin said a group of international state and industry representatives is currently studying the issue.

Airlines across the globe said they were still digesting the FAA’s turnaround, but a few of them released statements suggesting they both expected and welcomed similar moves elsewhere.

Air New Zealand, the country’s national carrier, said it seemed “probable that a similar approach will be adopted in this jurisdiction in time.” Qantas, Australia’s largest airline, said in a statement that it was “always interested in regulatory developments that could benefit passengers” and would be looking closely at the FAA’s decision. British Airways didn’t offer an opinion on the FAA decision, but noted it had recently become the first airline to allow customers to use their cell phones as soon as the plane took off.

German airline company Lufthansa, which has long championed the use of data services in the cabin, welcomed the FAA decision but said it was concerned that rules might now vary according to the airline or the destination.

“We hope these standards will be featured worldwide,” spokesman Michael Lamberty said.

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