First European airlines offering in-flight use of mobile phones thanks to EU-wide ground rules

According to the EU Press Room, “More and more European air passengers are being offered the choice to use their normal mobile phone to send text messages, browse the web or even make calls on board airplanes. One year after the European Commission put in place common rules for safe use of mobile phones on aircrafts and for simple and non-bureaucratic authorisations of this essentially cross border service, 27 European aircraft have been equipped to allow the secure use of standard GSM handsets onboard aircraft while flying in European airspace. The number of aircrafts enabled for in-flight use of mobile phones is expected to double by the end of the year.’The possibility to use a mobile phone onboard an aircraft is particularly sought after by business travellers and younger passengers. In addition, in-flight GSM offers are an interesting business model for European companies. This is why a year ago, the European Commission created a legal framework for companies who want to offer mobile communications on-board aircrafts in a safe and simple way in European skies without having to go through 27 different national authorisation procedures,’ said Viviane Reding, the EU’s Telecoms Commissioner. ‘I welcome the fact that the first airlines in Europe are now offering in-flight mobile phone use. There are two conditions for a further successful take-up of this new service: first of all, in-flight mobile phone use should not disturb other passengers, for example by leaving ample room for quiet zones during air travel, just like in trains. Secondly, attention should be paid by the operators that prices for these services remain at a reasonable level. If these two conditions are met, then offering on-board mobile phone services can be a bonus for European companies in the competitive global air travel market’.”This release is available in full text.

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