Press Release
Press Release



EASA certifies equipment for on board use of mobile phones and Blackberry devices
EASA certifies equipment for on board use of mobile phones and Blackberry devices
Paris - June 19, 2007

European regulators have cleared use of mobile phones and BlackBerry devices for passengers while flying, Airbus announced Tuesday.

Approval by the European Aviation Safety Agency means that, from September, passengers aboard Airbus aircraft outfitted with the OnAir system will be able to send and receive phone calls, SMS messages and e-mail messages while flying at altitudes above 3,000 meters, or 9,840 feets.

Cabin staff members will be able to turn off the system or restrict usage to text services like SMS, as they see fit.

The first aircraft to go into operation with the system will probably be a short-haul Airbus A318 operated by Air France. The British airline BMI, the Portuguese airline TAP and the budget airline Ryanair have also signed up to offer the services, said Graham Lake, chief commercial officer of OnAir, a joint venture between Airbus and SITA, a communications services company.

The only restriction on the OnAir system is that it can be used only above the altitude of 3,000 meters, which is attained roughly four minutes after takeoff and maintained until 10 minutes before landing. This restriction is in part the result of mobile phone operators' concerns about disruptions that can be caused when a single cellphone attempts to connect several land-based cellphone towers.