Boeing Planes to Permit In-Flight Cell Phone Use by 2013

The days of shutting down your cell phone when you board an airplane will become a thing of the past, if one aircraft manufacturer has its way.

Boeing (NYSE:BA) says that it will install technology inside its commercial jets that will permit passengers to make cell phone calls, surf the Internet, read email and watch live television on their mobile devices.

The technology will be built into new planes during their assembly. Cell phone use could appear in the company’s Dreamliner 787 jets as soon as next year, with wireless media streaming to become available a year after that, the Herald Sun notes.

Company officials cite passenger demand as the motivation behind installing the new technology. Some airlines are currently offering their own in-flight cellular service and Wi-Fi. Delta (NYSE:DAL) and JetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU) plan to launch in-flight Wi-Fi service next year.

But the final call on cellular and Wi-Fi use on planes belongs to the federal government. Cellular use has been discouraged in-flight based on concerns that wireless signals could affect sensitive aircraft systems.

Shares of Boeing were up fractionally in Friday morning trading.

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