02 Nov

After the European Aviation Safety Agency (“EASA”) has announced that it allows electronic devices to remain “On” and “Connected” throughout the flights on 26 September 2014, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation of Turkey (“DGCA”) was expected by Turkish airline companies to issue a guidance on this issue.

DGCA has finally issued a guideline, as expected, that defines the rules for use of portable electronic devices on 31 October 2014 and published it on its web-site.

Accordingly, before allowing the use of portable electronic devices on the plane,  the operators should be sure that there is no impact on the safety of aircraft operation of these devices. The operator is required to ensure that portable electronic devices do not have any impact on aircraft ‘s electronic systems, hardware and particularly affect the transmission and communications systems. In evaluation of the conditions for the use of portable electronic devices, the possibility of different effects at different places of the aircraft (passanger areas, cockpit, inaccessible places during the flight) should be considered. The operators are required to define precisely the term of use of portable electronic devices in determination of the relevant type of aircraft and weather conditions and announce through its communication channels aiming to inform the passangers in advance. The operators are also required to develop a procedure evaluating the terms of use of such devices and ensuring the aircraft is not affected by the signals sent by such devices where they are on. This procedure should be in complete control of the operator’s initiative as consisting of the briefings will be given on the terms of using and keeping of such devices with all details and trained to all crew and the ground staff.  The use of portable electronic devices is not allowed unless the operators provide manuals specifying all issues pertaining the use of portable electronic devices and such devices are used as fixed to avoid any risk during the flight. However using a portable electronic device as fixed seems enough strange and the aim of such a regulation is proposed to create question marks in mind. The operators are also required to give instruction cards to passangers carrying out their power suppliers and provide all portable electronic devices to be removed from power units and switched off during taxi, take off, approach, landing, abnormal and emergency conditions. As part of risk assessment procedure, the operators are required to deternine the threats against safety and implement the procedures to manage the commons risks on system and hardware.  The use of portable electronic devices at the diffrent places and phases of the flight, during turbulence, keeping of those properly, the risks during evacuation, disobedience of the passangers and battery fires to should be taken into consideration for risk assessment. The passanger safety instruction cards defining the rules and standards for use of portable electronic devices and specific to each aricraft type are also required to be placed in aircrafts. The operators should also set the standards with consistent and fair approach for appropriate and effective coordination between cockpit and the cabin crew for cases that may cause confusion or violation of safety and security arising out of the use of portable electronic devices.  Incidents having effect on safety applications and suspected cases should be reported without any delay and the operators should assist the technical investigation process definin the suspect device brand and model, at the time of the incident and the position in the aircraft.  The rules for the use of portable electronic devices should be announced before the passengers fasten seat belts and it should be specified clearly that passangers should respect to the instructions given by the crew. The crew is also kept responsible to have in-luggage devices switched off during the flight. Medical devices used in order to support physical function are allowed to be used at any time and the guideline sets out that there is no need to shut down such devices.Like defined in EASA guiadance, DGCA also requires the airline companies to go through an assessment procedure and to ensure the aircraft systemes are not affected by the signals.

Herdem Law Firm, Istanbul Turkey

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