1 SEPTEMBER 2014
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Qantas and Virgin Australia passengers can now use smartphones and tablets throughout flights as long as they are in flight mode after the national aviation regulator relaxed a ban on electronic devices on aircraft.
This follows a similar ruling from the US Federal Aviation Administration in 2013.
The Australian carriers will hope giving customers almost continuous access to personal devices will increase their appeal as they engage in a price war with each other and foreign-based market participants. Currently, passengers are forced to switch off devices until the aircraft reaches cruising altitude.
Qantas posted a £1.6bn annual loss last week, its greatest ever. Virgin Australia was a mere £200m.
"We're delighted to give Qantas customers the freedom and flexibility to use their personal electronic devices from the moment they board the plane until they disembark," Lyell Strambi, Domestic Chief Executive of Qantas, said in a statement.
Mark Hassell, Chief Customer Officer, Virgin Australia, said that the high number of passengers who travel with a smartphone or tablet shows "how valuable gate-to-gate access is to their overall travel experience." See also in this issue Qantas to the East.
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