US drops plans to introduce in-flight mobile use

Aviation authorities in the United States have ruled out allowing mobile phones on planes for the "foreseeable future," following large-scale public opposition over safety.

According to Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) officials, being quoted in the media this week, proposals to remove the ban on in-flight mobiles raised so much of opposition that they had to be dropped. The US opposition to in-flight mobile use is born out of fears that cell phones interfere with the controls of a plane.

Earlier this year, the European Aviation Safety Agency gave the go-ahead for in-flight mobile technology provided by the communications company ON Air, whose new system allows cell phones to transmit less powerfully, avoiding interference with an aircraft''s controls.

European airlines planning to allow use of cell phones aboard their aircraft include Ryanair, Tap Air Portugal and Air France. Asian and MidEast carriers include Emirates, AirAsia and Kingfisher.

According to reports, UK''s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) found that between January 2000 and August 2005 up to 20 incidents of aircraft malfunction were linked to the use of mobile phones.