SITA predicts personal cellphone use in the cabin is just around the corner

 - October 12, 2007, 7:30 AM

European information technology giant SITA predicts that by 2005 airline passengers will be able to make calls in flight using their personal cellphones.

For the past two years SITA has been working on a concept that would allow such connectivity in the air. A recently completed feasibility study, carried out by SITA through its so-called Mobile in the Sky program, confirmed that needed technologies exist and the next step is their integration into a complete end-to-end system.
The research revealed that although few passengers use in-seat phones today, a majority would use their mobile phones to place and receive calls once the service
is available.

“Although our industry is facing a time of considerable uncertainty, the ability for passengers to use their own mobile telephones on board commercial aircraft is an extremely exciting concept, and one that is in much demand,” said George Cooper, SITA vice president for aircraft communications.

SITA is currently in discussions with a number of technology partners and airlines to bring such services to the cabin. AirCell and Verizon are known to be working on similar concepts, which would be targeted at airlines and business aviation.