CONTEMPT: The Mandarin Airlines passenger could face up to five years in prison if found guilty of breaching a ban on the use of electronic devices
By Shelley Shan / Staff reporter
A passenger who livestreamed the flight takeoff process while he was aboard a Mandarin Airlines flight is facing charges for breaching the Civil Aviation Act （民用航空法）, the Civil Aeronautics Administration （CAA） said yesterday.
The incident came to light when a netizen complained about it to the Chinese-language Apple Daily.
A CAA investigation, which was completed yesterday, showed that the incident occurred on Thursday last week, when Mandarin Airlines Flight AE365 heading to Penghu was about to depart from the Taipei International Airport （Songshan airport）.
The passenger, surnamed Chen （陳）, activated the live broadcast function on social media when the aircraft was taxiing toward the runway.
Chen did not turn off the broadcast until the aircraft was about to take off.
The agency launched an investigation after watching a video recorded by the netizen, the agency said.
Article 43-2 of the Civil Aviation Act stipulates clearly that no person shall use any device that might interfere with navigation or telecommunications, unless these devices are approved by the CAA, or instructed by cabin crew with the consent of the pilot in command, the CAA said, adding that Chen had apparently contravened the act.
Officials visited Mandarin Airlines yesterday to ascertain that Chen was onboard that flight, the CAA said, adding that the flight attendants had informed passengers about the ban on the use of electronic devices.
Chen’s live broadcast attracted quite a number of viewers at the time, some of whom posted comments warning him that what he was doing was illegal, the CAA said.
However, Chen chose to ignore the warnings, saying: “An NT$80,000 fine is nothing to me,” the CAA said.
As Chen has shown an outright contempt for aviation safety and the law, the CAA has forwarded the case to the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office and suggested that he be given a heavy punishment.
If convicted, Chen could be sentenced to up to five years in prison or fined NT$150,000, the CAA said.
“Actions such as live broadcasts could interfere with flight communications and disrupt the functions of equipment on the aircraft, which could threaten flight safety, particularly during takeoffs and landings,” the agency said.
“All passengers should abide by flight safety regulations and follow the instructions of the cabin crew to ensure their and others’ safety,” it said.
Civil Aeronautics Administration Flight Standards Division Director Clark Lin attends a news conference yesterday at the agency’s offices in Taipei. Photo: Chen Yi-chia, Taipei Times