Emirates Airline is on track by year-end to be the first carrier in the world to allow its passengers to make calls using their own mobile phones with the AeroMobile system. Earlier this year, AeroMobile, a joint venture between U.S.-based Arinc and Norway’s Telenor, completed a successful trial of the system with Australian carrier Qantas, and it is now ready for full revenue-service use.
The new TopFlight satellite data unit (SDU) from Thales is small, light and affordable enough to bring satellite communications to single-aisle and regional airliners.
The Federal Communications Commission has said it won’t continue exploring the feasibility of allowing passengers to use their personal cellphones to make calls in flight, basing its decision on concerns raised by cellular providers over possible airborne interference with ground networks.
European information technology giant SITA predicts that by 2005 airline passengers will be able to make calls in flight using their personal cellphones.
Cordless cabin telephony with global connectivity at an affordable price is the promise of Belgium’s Orb’Phone, a division of Euro GSM.
Arinc and Norway telecommunications company Telenor have successfully completed ground testing of technology that lets passengers continue talking on their personal wireless phones after takeoff. The companies demonstrated the satellite-based concept at last month’s World Airline Entertainment Association conference, held September 20 to 24 in Seattle, and are holding talks with a number of airlines.
European authorities apparently do not share the qualms the Federal Communications Commission and FAA have about the in-flight use of personal cellphones. At the Paris Air Show in June, mobile telephony service provider OnAir announced that the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has certified the airborne GSM equipment that supports OnAir Services for use on the Airbus A318.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has decided to keep in place the rule requiring passengers in the U.S. to turn off cellphones before takeoff. But the ruling might not be enough to end the debate thanks to new mobile telephone technology that is designed to circumvent traditional cellular ground networks.
Will passengers flying on business jets and airliners really ever be able to use their personal cellphones to make and receive calls in flight?
Lingering uncertainty about whether cellphone calls placed by airline passengers would cause interference with the cell system on the ground has prompted the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to drop a longstanding proposal to relax the current ban.