Ryanair has announced that passengers will be allowed to use their mobile phones onboard 14 of its 166 aircraft in the next two weeks. Passengers signed up to O2 and 3 will be able to use the service.Only six passengers will be able to talk on their phones at one time but all on board will be able to send and receive text messages, and use email via a Blackberry. The carrier plans to roll out the technology across its entire fleet after six months if the trial is successful.
In-flight calls would cost about £2 a minute. The airline will take a cut of the fee for every call, text and email.
Safety concerns have previously held back the use of mobile phones on planes. But the European Aviation Safety Authority has allowed the use of Ryanair’s phone system, designed by OnAir.
The technology weakens the signal emitted from mobile phones, meaning they do not risk interference with the aircraft’s avionics. Some thirteen other aircraft, including Air France, are running trials of the technology.
Qatar Airways installed the technology earlier this year, but limited passengers to the use of text messages to nuisance to other passengers.