Air France launches test flight allowing on-board calls

April 3rd, 2008 - 12:44 am ICT by admin  

Paris, April 2 (Xinhua) Air France Wednesday moved to authorise the use of mobile telephones on board one of its planes serving European routes on an experimental basis, the airline announced. The aircraft, a medium-haul 123-seater A 318, was scheduled to serve the Paris-Vienna, Munich-Paris routes, the company announced in a statement, adding that the plane will fly a different route every day and passengers will be informed of this experimental service at the time of boarding.

Last December, the French national carrier had announced the launch of a three-month test during which passengers would be able to send and receive text messages and e-mails with attachments.

“Given the positive feedback that has been received from customers since the beginning of the experiment, the company has decided to move to the second phase of the project: the use of voice communication devices,” said the statement.

“At the end of the trial period, Air France will determine the service that is preferred by customers: data-only or data and voice calls,” said the company.

On the technical side, mobile phones connect to a miniature relay installed aboard the aircraft. A modem allows the return of these communications to a satellite that transmits them to a ground station. They are then directed to the telephone network used by individual passengers.

“Therefore, the mobile telephone only emits a low-power signal that no longer presents any risk of interference to the navigation systems installed in the aircraft,” according to the statement.

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