Travelers can no more fly under an autopilot that was in place before a series of crashes, including the plane crash in June in which a passenger was killed.
Airlines must now review all its systems, including pilots and onboard computers, to determine whether to allow the use of the autopilot, according to a letter from the Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday.
The FAA’s letter was signed by the agency’s assistant secretary for air transportation.
The Federal Aviation Regulations require pilots to be aware of what they’re doing and what they need to do to safely complete the flight.
Pilots must have the ability to take the control of the plane back if an emergency occurs.
But the FAA did not say if the new policy would extend to pilots who don’t have an onboard computer that can respond to emergencies.
If they don’t, the pilots would still be required to check the status of their computers and equipment on the ground and in the cockpit.
The new policy could affect millions of airline pilots and passengers, including passengers.
In a statement, the Association of Flight Attendants and Pilots (AFAPT) said the agency needs to act now to make sure passengers can continue to fly safely under an FAA rule that is already in place.
Airliners have been trying to reduce the number of crashes involving passengers that have killed people since at least 2013.