Canada relaxes restrictions on mobile devices in flight

OTTAWA Mon May 26, 2014 1:09pm EDT

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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada, following the lead of the United States and the European Union, on Monday relaxed official restrictions on using mobile devices in flight while maintaining a ban on transmitting information.

Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said air passengers could now use smartphones, cameras, electronic games, tablets and computers throughout a flight. Under current Canadian rules, all such devices must be shut down during takeoff and landing.

Passengers, however, will only be able to enjoy the new freedom if the airline they are flying on updates their safety manuals and can guarantee that during takeoff and landings all passengers are able to follow crew instructions.

"We wouldn't have approved this if we were concerned that it would affect either the safety of air travelers or of crews," Raitt told a news conference.

She also said the ban on sending or receiving e-mails and phone calls in flight would remain in place.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration announced similar measures for users of personal electronic devices last October.

The European Union followed suit in December.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren, editing by G Crosse)

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