The decision was made following a safety assessment process of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). A similar decision was made by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last year.
According to the EASA, the new guidance allows airlines to permit portable electronic devices (PEDs) to stay switched on, without the need to be in "Airplane Mode." Passengers will be able to connect to a WiFi network if the airline decides to offer the service on its planes.
The EASA stated that "It is up to each airline to decide to allow the use of PEDs. In order to do this, the airline will have to go through an assessment process, ensuring aircraft systems are not affected in any way by the transmission signals from the PEDs. For this reason, there may be differences among airlines whether and when PEDs can be used."
Will Israeli airlines adopt recommendation?
Eran Ramot, head of aviation research and flight safety at the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies told Ynet following the EASA decision that the Israeli authorities would have to adapt to the foreign regulations.
"The accumulated knowledge has proved that there is no risk in using electronic devices during flights," he said, stressing that "it's inevitable and this process cannot be stopped."
The Israeli airlines – El Al, Arkia and Israir – will have to decide in the coming days whether to accept the recommendation and allow their passengers to use electronic devices on the plane. In accordance with the new regulation, they will have to conduct preliminary tests to ensure that the aircraft systems are not affected by electrical and magnetic signals.
An El Al official told Ynet in response that "the company will study the different authorities' policy and form its stand on the matter." Israir said the company was "looking into the CAA and international aviation authorities' instruction."
Arkia offered the following comment: "The company will look into the recommendations of the European Aviation Safety Agency and Israeli Civil Aviation Authority in a bid to allow its customers free use of electronic devices during the flight."
The Transportation Ministry said in a statement, "Following the approval granted by international organizations, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) looked into the issue and informed the airlines that it is up to each airline to decide on the matter."