Airline communication system not for passenger use

Updated: 2012-10-18 16:55

By Tan Zongyang (

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The Civil Aviation Administration of China said that the satellite communication system that it required Chinese airlines to set up will not be used for passenger services such as in-flight entertainment, Beijing News reported on Oct 18.

CAAC, the country's top civil aviation regulator, said in a draft proposal on Oct 16 that airline companies will have satellite communication equipment installed from 2013 to 2016.

The new move has increased wide speculation that the satellite communication system would also provide the long-awaited in-flight wireless services for passengers, as media reported that it would allow passengers to make phone calls, surf the Internet and watch real-time TV.

However, CAAC said the system would only be used to assist communication between the cockpit and ground control, Beijing News reported, citing insiders from the administration.

The report also said the new move is aimed to guarantee the safety of aviation as China sees a fast growth of commercial airplanes.

According to the plan, Chinese airline companies should install the system on 20 percent of its airplane fleet by the end of 2013. And by the end of 2016, all commercial aircraft should have such equipment.