Amazon’s plans to begin testing drones for online deliveries have been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The FAA has granted Amazon a certificate for people with pilot’s licenses to test the unmanned aircraft.
The drones must be flown at 400 ft or below during daylight hours, and must remain within sight of the pilot.
Under US law, operating drones for commercial purposes is illegal.
However, those rules are under revision by the FAA, which is expected to issue new rules regarding the operation of unmanned aircraft for commercial and recreational purposes.
Amazon had asked the FAA for approval to begin the tests in July 2014.
In December 2014, the company warned that it might begin testing the program – known as Amazon Air – in other countries.
“Without approval of our testing in the United States, we will be forced to continue expanding our Prime Air R&D footprint abroad,” wrote Paul Misener, Amazon’s vice president of global public policy, in a letter to the FAA at the time.
As part of this ruling, Amazon must also provide data on the number of flights conducted and any other relevant information, on a monthly basis.
Amazon announced in December 2013 that it was going to begin trialing delivery to some customers by drone.
Chinese internet giant Alibaba, Google and parcel service UPS are among other companies carrying out more private trials of drones.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has ordered airlines to replace or modify the cockpit display units fitted to hundreds of Boeing jets.
The US air safety regulator said that tests had indicated that mobile phone and computer signals could cause the screens to go blank.
The affected planes are typically fitted with several screens, each of which costs thousands of pounds.
Honeywell – the displays’ manufacturer – has stressed that the problem has not been experienced in-flight.
“The only known occurrence was during a developmental test conducted on the ground,” said spokesman Steve Brecken.
“We worked with Boeing and addressed any concerns in 2012 with new display hardware.”
Boeing had previously issued an alert in November 2012 after an aero plane operator and Wi-Fi vendor noticed interference caused by the installation of an in-flight internet system.
The “phase 3” display units were found to be susceptible to the same radio frequencies used to transmit data via Wi-Fi.
The FAA has ordered airlines to replace or modify the cockpit display units fitted to hundreds of Boeing jets
In addition, the FAA said it was concerned that the screens could be disrupted by mobile satellite communications, cellular signals from phones, and air surveillance and weather radar.
The watchdog noted that the displays were required to provide pilots with information about airspeed, altitude, heading and pitch and roll, and added that the fault could cause a crash.
“We are issuing this AD [airworthiness directive] to prevent loss of flight-critical information displayed to the flight crew during a critical phase of flight, such as an approach or take-off, which could result in loss of airplane control at an altitude insufficient for recovery, or controlled flight into terrain,” it said.
Planemaker Boeing said that it had recommended that carriers implement the changes back in 2012.
However, the FAA said that it had estimated that a total of 1,326 Boeing 737 and 777 jets still needed to make the change.
It estimated that the replacement program would cost about $13.8m (£8.5m) to implement.
The agency noted that Virgin Australia, Air France, Ryanair and Honeywell were among those that had opposed the new rules on the grounds that they did not believe either current in-flight Wi-Fi systems or passengers’ electronic devices emitted signals at a strong enough level to affect equipment on the flight deck.
The FAA said Ryanair had complained that the demands imposed “a high, and unnecessary, financial burden on operators”.
Honeywell had suggested that airlines should be forced to install new screens only if Wi-Fi enabled tablets or other such equipment were used in the cockpit.
However, the FAA rejected these complaints saying it wanted to “eliminate” any risk of interference.
“We do not agree that no problems have occurred on in-service airplanes, since the Wi-Fi… testing that disclosed this susceptibility was conducted on an in-service airplane fitted with phase 3 display units,” it added.
The FAA has given the companies involved five years to swap or modify the components.
European and US airlines have suspended flights into Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport after a rocket landed one mile away.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ordered three US carriers that fly to Israel – Delta, United and US Airways – to halt flights for 24 hours.
European carriers Lufthansa, KLM, and Air France have also cancelled flights to Tel Aviv.
The move comes amid heightened scrutiny over flights near conflict zones.
Israel’s Transportation Ministry asked the airlines to reverse their decision, saying the airport was “safe for landings and departures”.
“Ben Gurion Airport is safe and completely guarded and there is no reason whatsoever that American companies would stop their flights and hand terror a prize,” it said in a statement.
The FAA ordered three US carriers to halt Israel flights for 24 hours
The FAA’s prohibition only applies to US airlines. The agency has no authority over foreign airlines operating to or from the airport.
However, Lufthansa – which includes Swiss, Germanwings and Austrian Airlines – said it had decided to suspend flights to Israel for two days.
Air France and KLM also said they had suspended flights scheduled to depart on Tuesday.
However, Air France said a flight scheduled for Wednesday is still scheduled to depart.
Delta said a flight from New York City to Tel Aviv was diverted to Paris on Tuesday after Israeli police confirmed that a rocket landed approximately one mile from Ben Gurion airport.
Both and United said they had suspended operations in Israel for the near future – beyond the FAA’s 24-hr period.
US Airways said it had not yet made a decision.
British Airways wrote on Twitter: “We are closely monitoring the situation. Our flights are currently operating as scheduled.”
The halt in service comes less than a week after Israel began a ground operation in Gaza, and as airlines around the world re-think their flight paths over conflict areas in the wake of the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine.
British Airways is to become the first European airline to let passengers switch on their mobile phones and other devices just after landing.
From 1st of July, once an aircraft has got off the runway people can power up their electronics, rather than having to wait until it has stopped.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has said it is satisfied there are no safety implications.
Airlines from other countries have allowed similar rules for some time.
Passengers have generally been forbidden from using their electronic devices on planes owing to fears of interference, especially when taking off and landing.
BA’s new rules will allow mobiles to be switched on and used as soon as the aircraft is off the runway.
“Customers will no longer have the frustration of having to wait until their plane has arrived at the terminal building before being able to use their mobile phones and other handheld electronic devices,” said Ian Pringle, BA flight training manager.
British Airways is to become the first European airline to let passengers switch on their mobile phones and other devices just after landing
“Now they’ll have that extra time to phone ahead for that important business meeting, check their emails, or make sure someone is there to meet them at the airport.”
The rules will not affect restrictions during take-off, however, where devices will still have to be switched off until the plane reaches 10,000 ft (3,050 m).
The change, which will apply to BA flights landing anywhere in the world, is in response to feedback from customers, the airline said.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the equivalent of the CAA in the United States, has also been looking at allowing wider use of personal electronics on flights.
A draft proposal published last week said existing rules, first drawn up in 1966, had become “untenable” in an age of modern technology and communication.
Several studies later, the FAA has agreed to change guidelines, but is still debating to what degree.
The FAA agreed with experts that advances in technology, both in aviation and consumer electronics, mean any threat of interference is either minimal or non-existent.
But there is greater concern about take-off and landing, with authorities keen both to ensure aircraft equipment is not interfered with and that passengers are not overly distracted at “critical” moments.
It is likely that pressure on aviation authorities worldwide to relax rules has been driven by a major revenue opportunity for airlines.
Technology exists, and is in limited use, for passengers to use Wi-Fi internet and to make calls at high altitude, usually at premium rates.
Any change in policy would be welcome news for actor Alec Baldwin. In December 2011, he was kicked off an American Airlines flight before take-off after refusing to stop playing the popular Scrabble-like game Words With Friends.