Advocates of in-flight cell phone use took heart this month as the US Senate passed Federal Aviation Administration reauthorisation legislation without the so-called Hang-Up Act.

Debate over whether the in-flight use of cell phones should be permitted on commercial flights has been raging ever since US congressman Peter DeFazio in 2008 introduced the Hang-Up Act in the House of Representatives to ensure that the current Federal Communications Commission ban remains in place.

DeFazio's Hang-Up Act language was passed by the House last year with its version of the FAA bill.

However, Carl Biersack, of industry-backed lobby group the In-flight Passenger Communications Coalition, welcomed the Senate version of the bill: "The Senate elected to be silent on the ban, so their silence is a clear statement that this is the right thing to do in terms of aviation policy."

A compromise committee will now seek to reconcile differences between the House and Senate versions before a bill can be presented for President Obama's signature into law.

Source: Flight International