Airbus is first to receive airworthiness certification for a cell-phone system on board an aircraft. On 18th June 2007, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approved Airbus’ GSM on-board system.
The EASA airworthiness certification comes after successful tests were carried out by Airbus earlier this year and confirms the GSM on-board system’s compatibility in the aircraft environment.
With this approval, Airbus has made a major step towards airline operation of the OnAir service that will enable passengers to use their BlackBerryÔ-type devices and mobile phones during flights in Europe. They will be able to make and receive calls in addition to being able to send and receive emails and text messages. Cabin crew can easily manage the service and have the option of selecting a “voice-off” mode which only allows SMS text messaging and email services.
OnAir, a joint venture between Airbus and SITA, will act as the service provider for a range of connectivity services. Initially the service will be available on Airbus’ Single Aisle Family for short-haul flights in Western Europe.
“This certification is Airbus’ first response to the growing market demand for on-board connectivity, “said Rainer von Borstel, Airbus Senior Vice President, Cabin & Cargo Customisation. “It paves the way for the subsequent worldwide deployment of cell phone services and internet based services across all Airbus aircraft types,” he added.