The European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) has given the green light to the in-flight mobile system that supports cell phone usage by service provider OnAir.
Announced at the recent Paris Air Show, the decision applies to the Airbus A318 aircraft and means that airline passengers will soon be able to use mobile phones and devices such as BlackBerrys.
Although there is no definite word yet on when passengers may be able to use their mobiles on flights, OnAir chief executive Benoit Debains is confident that the EASA decision is an important one.
“This airworthiness certification is a major milestone in the process of bringing our service to market,” he said. “It follows successful testing earlier this year.”
The OnAir system incorporates Siemens base stations that make sure passenger calls do not interfere with navigations systems.
Debains continued: “The airborne equipment has been designed to meet the specific needs of the aviation environment. This certification validates the integrity of the work that Airbus has done in developing and integrating technology from best of breed suppliers.”
Many travellers have expressed concern at the idea of having to sit next to someone nattering away on their mobile phone. However, airlines have suggested that if the system does not work it can always be rescinded.