According to people who work with an industry working group that the Federal Aviation Administration set up last year to study the use of portable electronics on planes, the agency hopes to announce by the end of this year that it will relax the rules for reading devices during takeoff and landing. The change would not include cellphones.
One member of the group and an official of the F.A.A., both of whom asked for anonymity because they were not allowed to speak publicly about internal discussions, said the agency was under tremendous pressure to let people use reading devices on planes, or to provide solid scientific evidence why they cannot...
...Last year, the agency announced that an industry working group would study the issue. The group, which first met in January, comprises people from various industries, including Amazon, the Consumer Electronics Association, Boeing, the Association of Flight Attendants, the Federal Communications Commission and aircraft makers. The group plans to introduce its findings by July 31.
The group has several goals beyond determining the safety of electronics on planes, according to an internal document that describes its objectives that was shown to The New York Times. Those include ensuring that flight attendants do not have to be the social police for which devices are acceptable during flight and determining what the term “airplane mode” really means. Finally, the group wants to ensure that whatever rules the agency announces apply to devices that are not on the market today.
The report also hopes to replace multiple regulations with a single, concise set.
To guarantee that the F.A.A. follows through with its promise to relax the rules, Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, said she planned to hold the agency accountable by introducing legislation.
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