Airbus gets Euro approval for in-flight calling system

The FAA's still hemming and hawing over how to handle the rather controversial issue of in-flight mobile phone use, but that hasn't stopped Europe's Airbus from pushing the issue on its home turf. Having already signed agreements with Ryanair and Qantas to provide service through its OnAir subsidiary, the company's been testing equipment to enable the use of GSM handsets for some time; the European Aviation Safety Agency's apparently pretty satisfied with how those tests have been coming along, too, having just blessed the system for commercial use. European travelers worried that this development is going to lead to a rash of incessant yappers on domestic flights can take some solace in the knowledge that flight attendants will be able to "manage" the service, even shutting off voice entirely while leaving SMS and data active. Look for OnAir service to drop initially on short flights in Western Europe, though Airbus intends to take it global -- if the FAA's cool with it, anyway.