allow passengers to make mobile phone calls during flights. Emirates said
the first permitted mobile phone call was made on a flight between Dubai and
Casablanca. The aircraft, an Airbus A340, is fitted with a system which
stops mobiles from interfering with a plane's electronics. Emirates plans to
extend the system to more aircraft and later this year add BlackBerry and
other data services.
According to the airline, the mobile service will only be activated when the
aircraft is at cruising altitude and the cabin crew will be able to monitor
and control the use of the system. Passengers will be able to receive and
send text messages, but the crew will be able to prevent voice calls at
certain times, such as during night flights. Passengers will also be
requested to keep their phones on "silent" mode, said the airline.
Emirates said it decided to introduce the use of mobile phones in its fleet
after experiencing high demand for the phones already installed in aircraft
seats. The airline had to obtain approval from international air safety
organisations before adopting the system, which was developed by the
AeroMobile Company. "We have gone to considerable lengths to ensure that all
safety and regulatory issues have been fully addressed", said AeroMobile
Chief Executive Bjorn-Taale Sandberg. Emirates flies to more than 60
countries and is owned by the government of Dubai.
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