In-flight communications specialist Stratos (formerly BT Aeronautical) and BAE Systems are initially focusing on the business aviation market for the launch of their CabinCall system, which is being developed to allow mobile telephones to be used safely on board aircraft.

The focus on business aviation is recognition that certification of the system for the commercial airline market could still be some way off.

Stratos is responsible for selling and marketing the CabinCall system, while BAE is handling the certification process, says Steven Brunskill, head of GSM applications at Stratos.

CabinCall, which BAE has been developing for some time, is a picocell-based system which allows mobile telephones to be used safely in-flight.

The system manages the communication links to the ground, monitoring the strength of the radio frequency emissions, minimising radiated power and barring calls during critical phases of the flight.

Certification of the system for the airline market is not expected until the second quarter of 2003, while approval in the business aviation market is expected to come in the third quarter of next year, says Brunskill.

The system will cost around $100,000 per aircraft.

Source: Flight International