China lifts ban on mobile phone use during flights

Mobile phone being used in flight in China.

Chinese airlines are now allowing passengers to use mobile phones during flights, but only in flight-safe mode, following a Civil Administration of China (CAAC) decision to allow their use.

Xinhua China Eastern Airlines and Hainan Airlines have begun to allow passengers to use portable electronic devices (PED), such as smartphones and tablets.

Until last week, mobile phones were required to be completely switched off during flights on any Chinese airlines.

Inflight Wi-Fi is reported to be available on 74 of China Eastern Airlines’ aircraft, covering all long-range international routes and 166 domestic routes.

Reports say Hainan Airlines has also enabled inflight Wi-Fi on 17 of its aircraft. Other Chinese airlines are said to be considering allowing mobile phone use.

China has the potential to be a major growth area for inflight connectivity providers.

In July 2017, Air China selected inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solutions from Panasonic Avionics for its fleet of Airbus A350 aircraft.

Under the terms of the agreement, Panasonic will provide its eX3 inflight entertainment for 10 Air China A350 aircraft.

And in October, Lufthansa Technik AG signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Chinese company Air Esurfing (ARE) to provide connectivity services to Chinese airlines.

The country’s largest communication company, Air Esurfing is a fully-owned subsidiary of Air Media Group and is dedicated to providing in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) services to airlines.

The MoU signed at the Aircraft Interiors Expo, Long Beach 2017, provides for Lufthansa Technik and Air Esurfing to enter a long-term partnership with the goal of offering turnkey connectivity solutions for commercial airline fleets in the country.

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