Ryanair plans to allow mobile calls on flights

PASSENGERS on Ryanair flights could soon be allowed to use their mobile phones in flight — but at a cost of up to €2 a minute.

The low-cost airline is planning to allow people to make calls and send texts mid-air — at international roaming rates.

Those making calls face paying €1.80 to €2 a minute or €1.50 if they are receiving a call. Texts would cost 40c to send but would be free to receive.

Yesterday, Ryanair said the airline planned to allow passengers to use their mobiles on flights by June next year.

A spokesman said: “There will be a black box on board to enable people to use their mobiles without interfering with the aeroplane’s electronics.

“Anyone wishing to use their phones will have to pay a roaming charge and we will take a cut of that.

“We are still in talks (with makers of mobile phone equipment) about this.”

The Dublin-based airline carries 30 million passengers a year, meaning the airline could earn a lucrative cut of €60 million of calls should each passenger make a one-minute call in the air.

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary announced the money-spinning plan earlier this week as the airline looks to increase revenue.

Passengers on airlines are banned from using their mobiles during flight as the signals from the devices can interfere with the plane’s navigation electronics and other devices.

Electronics companies such as Dutch firm OnAir are offering technology that ensures mobile phone calls can be made safely in the air.

The system also means passengers can use devices such as the BlackBerry handheld computer to send and receive emails while on a flight.

An OnAir spokesman said passengers on Air France flights will be the first to benefit when the new mobile phone system goes live next year.

British carrier BMI — which flies to Dublin, Cork, Belfast and Knock — is also installing the technology on its planes, as is Portuguese airline TAP.

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