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1/14/2008
05:25 PM
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Report Critical Of Cell Phone Ban On U.S. Planes

The ability to send data and make calls in-flight allows Middle Eastern, Asian, and European business travelers the opportunity to be more productive, one study contends.

While passengers worldwide are allowed to use their mobile phones during flights, the United States remains closed to the idea, consequently causing travelers to be less productive, according to a report released Monday by Freesky Research.

The ability to send data and make calls in-flight allows Middle Eastern, Asian, and European business travelers the opportunity to be more productive on commercial airplanes than U.S. travelers, according to the report.

The Federal Communications Commission put a rest to the idea of allowing mobile phone use during flights last year. Commercial airlines in the United States continue requiring passengers to turn off their phones before a plane takes off.

The FCC is concerned that mobile phones could disrupt other radio communications on planes. But Freesky Research contends that after testing mobile device interference with cockpit communications and navigation equipment for the last five years, and with systems now installed on passenger planes, there is evidence that mobile phones can be used in-flight without harm.

"As long as the United States maintains its current policy banning cellular antennas from being used on jets, it is allowing other countries to leap ahead with in-flight productivity, while facing mounting evidence that there is no safety benefit to passengers," said David Gross, chief analyst at Freesky Research and author of two related reports, in a statement. In Europe, a cellular ground-based system called OnAir was approved last year for cell phone use in Airbus planes by the European Aviation Safety Agency.

Passengers in other countries around the world, including Australia, Turkey, Malaysia, and India, can also use mobile phones during flights, Freesky Research said.

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