Qantas and Virgin say passengers can use their smartphones and tablets throughout flights after a regulator relaxed a ban on electronic devices during take-off and landing. As Hayley Platt reports the move comes as the two domestic rivals are expected to post annual net losses later this week.
It was forbidden for years. Now passengers flying Qantas and Virgin airlines can use their mobile phones throughout the flight. They still won't be able to make calls or send texts. But they can keep their phones and tablets switched on as long as they're in 'flight mode'. Previously passengers were forced to turn off their smartphones and tablets until the plane had reached cruising altitude. Alan Milne is head of engineering at Quantas. (SOUNDBITE)(English) QANTAS HEAD OF ENGINEERING, ALAN MILNE SAYING: "We had to do extensive testing to prove that the phones wouldn't impact any of the aircraft systems. Now that testing has been completed. No impact at all. Now until Qantas was happy we weren't going to let these be in operation." The move follows a similar ruling by the U.S. in 2013. British airways became the first airline in Europe to end the ban on using gadgets during take-offs and landings. The Australian airlines hope the softening of rules will help attract new business. Quantas and Virgin have both been engaged in a price war. Both are expected to post annual net losses later this week.