UK Moves Closer to In-Flight Cell Phones

Service awaits nod from EU aviation safety boards
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2008 5:58 PM CDT
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., talks on his cell phone while sitting on the tarmac in his campaign plane, Thursday, march 6, 2008. Maybe one day he won't have to hang up during takeoff.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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(Newser) – British air travelers may soon be able to use their cell phones while in flight, Reuters reports. UK telecom regulator Ofcom approved airline proposals to offer mobile service, pending assent by the European aviation safety authorities. Passengers would be able to make calls once the aircraft was in the air by connecting their phones to a base station in their seats.

If approved, a process that could take months, the service will be available on UK-registered planes while over European airspace. "The safety of passengers is paramount,” Ofcom said, “and mobile systems will only be installed when they have secured approval by the European Aviation Safety Agency and the Civil Aviation Authority in the UK.”