The long-awaited ability to use a cellphone or Wi-Fi connection on an aircraft might become a casualty of the latest aviation security threat.
It was revealed on 29 October that parcels containing a powdered explosive packed in laser printer cartridges had travelled undetected on aircraft to the UK and to Dubai in the UAE. A cellphone connected to a detonation circuit could have allowed a terrorist to trigger an explosion by calling or texting the phone.
This comes as the aviation industry is gearing up to provide broadband in-flight entertainment systems that feature both cellphone and Wi-Fi connections for passengers. These systems would mean that passengers would no longer need to illicitly use their cellphones when they come into range of ground masts at low altitudes near airports – a potentially dangerous activity that could interfere with the aircraft’s avionics.