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Wed, Oct 10, 2007

Serenity Now! FAA Says No To Cell Phones On Aircraft

Brits Not Keen On Coming Technology, Either

"Can you hear me now?" If you're on a commercial airliner flying in the US... the answer will be a resounding "no!" according to an FAA representative.

Agency spokesman Les Dorr recently told the UK's Daily Telegraph the agency has ruled out -- for the "foreseeable future," at least -- allowing cell phones to be used onboard commercial airliners while in flight.

The issue isn't a technical one, or due to safety concerns... but rather due to overwhelming public outcry against it, according to Dorr. Passengers' fears of cell phones interfering with aircraft systems lead the reasons for concern, though lack of onboard civility also ranks high on the list.

The Telegraph notes a Civil Aviation Authority study conducted from January 2000 through August 2005 found 20 incidents of aircraft malfunctions linked to use of onboard cell phones.

That doesn't seem to phase the European Aviation Safety Agency, however. Earlier this year, EASA approved in-flight mobile phone technology provided by communications company ON Air; the system operates at lower power levels than land-based cells, to avoid interference.

Several airlines have plans afoot to add the technology. Ryanair, Tap Air Portugal and Air France plan to allow mobile use in the near future; so do Emirates, AirAsia, and Kingfisher.

A petition by the Telegraph against onboard use of cell phones has netted over 3,000 letters and emails in support of banninh cell phones inflight.

FMI: www.faa.gov

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