Mobile phones cleared for use during flights across Europe

Guy Bentley
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Passengers may soon be be allowed to use their smartphones on flights across Europe (Source: Getty)

In good news for Europe's air passengers, mobile phones and portable electronic devices (PEDs) have been cleared for use throughout flights.

The European Aviation Safety Agency said there was no reason from a safety perspective for passengers to keep their devices switched off or in airplane mode. Devices that will be affected will include tablets, laptops, smartphones and MP3 players.

"As a result, passengers will be able to use their PEDs just like in any other mode of transport - throughout the trip," EASA said. However, the decision on whether passenger can use their mobile devices will ultimately be made by the airlines.

"It is up to each airline to decide to allow the use of PEDs. In order to do this, the airline will have to go through an assessment process, ensuring aircraft systems are not affected in any way by the transmission signals from the PEDs," EASA added.

Many will hope the latest relaxation of rules for mobile devices will bring Europe toward the situation in many parts of the US where travellers are able to make use of gate-to-gate telecommunications and Wi-Fi services.

Back in June, Mobile satellite services operator Inmarsat, has announced plans for an integrated telecommunications network to raise air passenger connectivity services across the EU.

European passengers, may in the near future, be able to enjoy an unbroken onboard Wi-Fi service.The London-based company confirmed that it was in advanced discussion with British Airways to be a launch customer.

Inmarsat believes the market for in-flight Wi-Fi has exceptional growth potential globally. The success of the Go-go air-to-ground network has already led to American telecoms giant AT&T building a second competing network.

In order to achieve this goal, Britain's largest space company confirmed it had placed an order for the new S-band satellite, which is to be named Europasat. The European Commission gave Inmarsat a license for this part of the spectrum back in 2009.

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