DGCA approves use of mobile phones at Indian airports soon after aircraft lands and clears runway

In most countries across the world, especially in North America and Western Europe, the use of mobile phones is permitted soon after the aircraft lands and exits the active runway. In India, many a passenger broke current rules by following this practice.

No longer.

India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is finally bringing Indian carriers in line with these global practices, by amending Rule 29B of Aircraft Rules 1937, to provide for the use of the cellular phones by passengers after the aircraft has landed and cleared the active runway, except in cases when low visibility conditions exist at the airport.

For the compliance of the amended requirement, the DGCA has suggested the following procedure to airlines to be adopted at the earliest, but no later than October 22, 2010 which is this Friday.

The Pilot In Command (PIC), (a) having cleared the active runway after landing (b) with no other runways or intersections to cross, (c) in visual flight conditions and (d) when he or she comfortable, will intimate the cabin crew in-charge on the intercom to make an announcement informing the passengers that they are allowed to use a cellular phone to make or receive calls.

A suggested announcement could be

“Passengers are advised that the use of mobile phones after landing is now allowed. Aircraft has left the active runway and has slowed down, passengers may use their mobile phones now.”

Bangalore Aviation would like to remind passengers that mobile phones do create significant electronic disturbance (just bring your mobile phone next to your land-line telephone instrument and hear the noise).

Therefore the use of phones is still at the discretion of the pilot. With the exception of New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International airport, there is hardly any airport in India where the aircraft taxies for more than five minutes.

What is your view? Surely we can wait for those few minutes, if the need arises?

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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