Texting, browsing may soon be permitted on New Zealand flights

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Wellington, May 28 (ANI): Passengers flying on some Air New Zealand planes will be able to send text messages and emails mid-flight by the end of 2010.

The national carrier plans to permit people to send and receive text messages and emails on their iPhones, Blackberries and GSM mobiles on their new 777-300 aircrafts by November.

However, the safety of the practice will have to be certified by the airline to the concerned authority, before the formal go-ahead.

"The airline must convince the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority that the practice is safe before an exemption is granted to a rule that prohibits the use of portable electronic devices on flights." The New Zealand Herald quoted Ed Sims, General Manager of the Air New Zealand Group, as saying.

"By the facility of the new service, the passengers will be able to go online using their mobile broadband connection, but the airline has not decided upon allowing voice calls on board," he said.

"Passengers will be requested to keep their phones on silent mode," he added.

The billing amount of the customers will be based on their mobile service, like any other global roaming plan, but in-flight costs will apply.

"The exemption would be similar to the one which allows the use of phones on 'flight mode' after take-off and before landing," said a Spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority. (ANI)

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