Project gives air play to mobiles

A two-year investigation by Airbus has revealed that mobile phones can be used on aircraft without interfering with the planes’ systems.

During the EC-backed project, Airbus installed a picocell on an A320 which created a small mobile phone cell within the aircraft.

Calls were then routed to mobile and fixed phones on the ground via Globalstar satellites. Airbus also tested wireless systems such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and CDMA.

As a result the company plans to install in-flight mobile phone technology on its aircraft by 2006.

American Airlines is working on a similar technology to be introduced at around the same time, while Boeing has set up Connexion, which already operates wireless networking technology on commercial flights.

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