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Airlines to allow mobile calls

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Airlines to allow mobile calls

Old 21st Sep 2005, 04:43
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Airlines to allow mobile calls

Airlines to allow mobile calls
September 21, 2005 - 2:19PM

Two European airlines will allow passengers late next year to use their own mobile phones on commercial flights within western Europe, a Geneva-based technology firm says.

TAP Air Portugal and British carrier bmi both have agreed to introduce OnAir's voice and text service for mobile phones in separate three-month trial runs, OnAir's Chief Executive George Cooper said.

The planes - which will be the first to allow passengers to make and receive calls with their own mobile phones while onboard - will give OnAir the chance to assess its service before its general release, slated for 2007, he said.

"With both airlines, initially there will be a couple of airplanes - two or three airplanes - equipped with this system," Cooper told The Associated Press from Germany.

"During that three months, we'll all be evaluating how it's going, what the usage is, how we handle the crew issues and so on."

OnAir's system will be used by TAP on its Airbus 321 model and by bmi on its Airbus 320s, both single-aisle planes primarily used for traffic within western Europe.

Users of mobile phones and other handheld wireless devices with roaming capability will be able to make and receive calls using a base station within the airplane.

They will be allowed to turn their phones on after the plane reaches 10,000 feet (3,000 metres), when other electronic devices such as portable music players and laptops are permitted, Cooper said.

Mobile phones are banned on existing aircraft for fear that they might interfere with plane's navigation system as they attempt to log on to terrestrial networks.

OnAir's mobile communications system is based within the plane, which it says ensures that mobile phones and other devices operate at lower transmission power and thus avoid affecting avionics.

The company hopes to clear all regulatory hurdles for air traffic within Europe at some point next year.

OnAir - a joint venture of Airbus and Netherlands-based technology company SITA Information Networking Computing - is aiming to sell its services to other airlines, which could then use the technology in other plane models.

Cooper said the surcharge for mobile phone use would be competitive with international roaming rates, at about US$2.30-US$2.50 per minute. A text message should cost about $US0.50 ($A0.65) to send or receive.

Airline bmi, a subsidiary of British Midland plc, flies primarily to destinations in Britain and western Europe and is London Heathrow Airport's second-largest flight operator.

TAP, Portugal's state-owned airline, flies to 43 destinations in 25 countries.

Cooper made the announcement in conjunction with the annual World Airline Entertainment Association Conference, which opened Tuesday in Hamburg, Germany.

2005 AAP
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niceneasy is offline  
Old 21st Sep 2005, 04:59
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Dreadful prospect! Mind you, you don't see too many people using the phones built into the IFE handsets on BA and EK.
chippy63 is offline  
Old 21st Sep 2005, 05:30
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Can't think of anything more annoying. It's gonna be those guys in F/J using it more so than the guys at the back (maybe?), so closer to the flightdeck door, so a good chance those at the pointy end will hear it. Hopefully the air circulation humming will drown out the rings. Hmmmm.

Will this OnAir system cause interference through our headsets? Ie, when your mobile phone starts receiving an incoming call/text and you are close to some speakers, TV etc and you get that interference noise, will we get it if someone close to the flightdeck starts ringing?


crazypilot is offline  
Old 21st Sep 2005, 05:58
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In Addition

Can you imagine:

Red Eye return from LAX to NY, 5 hour flight, business man (person) trying to catch a few winks with some woman (person) on the phone a foot away chatting at the top of their lungs about their weekend in Vegas.



I hope it stays out of the US
Sonic Zepplin is offline  
Old 21st Sep 2005, 06:01
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A thread was already started on this topic but, as usual, it was shunted off to another forum within a few minutes of being started , so was probably missed by many PPRuNers.

You can find further details - including the results of e-mails to bmi's MD Nigel Turner- at http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthr...hreadid=190825

Hopefully this thread will be allowed at last a day or so as a 'News' item before being moved?
BEagle is offline  
Old 21st Sep 2005, 06:14
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I often fly with my mobile switched on, and yes, the interference through the headset can be significant - however the phone has to be within a metre or so of some part of the system, be it headset, radio, intercom, aerials etc.
Hopefully the SLF in the cabin would be far enough away from the audio systems to not cause interference.

Of course, if enough people have problems with it, we should be able to raise once again the safety case to ban usage of phones in the cabin.
Who really wants to be stuck next to someone chatting on the phone, in the air?
Lasiorhinus is offline  
Old 21st Sep 2005, 08:29
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