WestJet moves to get increased PED usage

WestJet is to apply to Transport Canada for an exemption to allow guests greater use of their portable electronic devices (PEDs) during flights, following word that the regulator will allow expanded use of PEDs in Canada.

The announcement by Transport Canada effectively allows airlines to begin the process of meeting conditions required to receive permission to allow guests to use PEDs in all phases of flight including taxi-in and out, takeoff and landing, providing the device is in non-transmitting or flight mode.

“We welcome this decision and applaud Transport Canada for recognising the prevalence of these devices and the desire of our guests to use them,” said Bob Cummings, WestJet executive vice-president, sales, marketing and guest experience. “The use of portable electronic devices is a key part of our inflight experience going forward, and this decision clears the way for the use of portable electronic devices while in non-transmitting or flight mode on a gate-to-gate basis while ensuring the safety of our guests.”

WestJet has completed comprehensive testing of its Boeing 737NG fleet in connection with efforts to certify its recently-announced inflight entertainment system and connectivity, which will support the expanded use of PEDs. However, the airline must still demonstrate through its exemption application that radio frequency emissions from PEDs do not pose a risk to aircraft systems and equipment and that all hazards are mitigated before allowing the use of PEDs on board. This is in addition to training flight crews and amending operating manuals.

WestJet expects Transport Canada approval to allow passengers greater use of PEDs early this summer.

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