Tuesday, March 28News For London

European Commission plans to make Airplane Mode a thing of the past

Photo Credit: William Clark, 2022

A press release by the European Commission states that 5G will be made available for passengers on board airliners.

5G connection will soon become reality for airline passengers within the UK and the EU, with the European Commission permitting airlines to use their own 5G frequencies. Passengers will be able to establish a network connection during the flight connecting people in the sky to the rest of the world.

This service will be made available through the use of special network equipment called the “pico-cell”, which airlines can choose to equip on their aircrafts in the future. The costs of implementing this new service are not yet clear. This also begs the question of potential costs for passengers to use the network during flights.

Concerns about interference with the flight control systems have been addressed by chief executive of the UK Flight Safety Committee, Dai Whittingham, in statement for the BBC. Whittingham asserts that risk of interference is not an issue in the UK and EU, as compared to the US, as they “have a different set of frequencies for 5G, and there are lower power settings than those that have been allowed in the US.”

These new technological developments are set to make flying an even more attractive option for people. These advancements in air travel comes at a time of increasing climate concerns, of which aviation is a major contributor.

In an interview with Westminster World, Emma Glattfelder, 21, says that airlines should “focus more on how to be sustainable rather than providing even more online connectivity to people. This is also something that interests people more nowadays.”

Barr Kroter, 25, adds that: “It will definitely up the amount of people taking flights as it makes it a lot more appealing to fly”. He continues by sharing his sentiments on what feels like ever increasing consumerism. “It’s just more of that. I think people can take a flight without having to be connected. They are just connected to social media and this whole online world everyone’s been drawn into.” Kroter hopes that these developments do not result in an increase in people taking flights.

Rebecca Dragons, 21, sees the appeal in network connectivity during flights but does not believe it will not result in a major increase in air travel. “I don’t choose to fly over other modes of transport just because I am connected.” Nonetheless, she does not believe that resources and money should necessarily be invested in this given rising climate concerns.

Public opinion here seems to largely follow the same theme. Network connectivity, especially a 5G connection, is understandably appealing. Yet, climate change and global warming seems to be present in the mind of the public when asked about this new development and should be given greater consideration.