El Al airplane (file)
El Al airplane (file)Flash 90

Travelers leaving from Ben Gurion Airport will soon be able to use small electronic devices on flights, after Israel's Aviation Authority said Sunday it was lifting the ban on most small electronic devices during flight takeoffs and landings. Users will be able to do work on tablets and other devices, including cellphones that are set to “airplane mode,” and are not connected to a cell network.

Such rules have been in place in the US for nearly a year now, and last week European authorities decided to allow the use of the devices, declaring that they were not a danger to flight operations. The Israeli decision gives carriers leeway to decide whether or not to relax the rules, but the decision stated that Israeli officials had come to the conclusion that use of the devices was not a problem.

The first decision on the matter was made last October by the FAA in the US, which determined that use of PEDs (Portable Electronic Devices) did not interfere with operations of most modern planes, after a years-long study. Airlines were given permission to evaluate avionics as well as changes to stowage rules and passenger announcements.

That decision also opened the door to the addition of Wi-Fi to flights in the US, and the Aviation Authority's decision does the same for Israeli carriers. No Israeli airline has yet made an announcement on whether or not it would include Wi-Fi connections on flights for passengers.