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Mobile Phone and Internet on Russian Domestic Flights

Several Russian air companies have today announced that they will join other airlines in allowing passengers to use communication devices during flights.

Air France, Ryanair, Qantas and Emirates currently allow passengers to use mobile devices on some of their flights. However, they will now be joined by Russia's second largest airline "Sibir".

Sibir Airline have today signed a contract with international and long-distance telephone operator MTT, to give the carrier a virtual operator license.

The airline is currently holding a tender to procure the necessary equipment to allow the use of phones onboard an aircraft according to MTT spokesperson Irina Kolesnikova.

The equipment will ensure that passengers can surf the web and make calls on board the aircraft without affecting flight safety.

Russia's largest airline Aeroflot, has announced that it too is currently investigating making a similar move and is in the

process of choosing a future partner from among the "big three" mobile phone operators in Russia - Beeline, MegaFon and MTS.

Both the airlines and mobile phone operators have said that they still unsure about the scale of investments necessary to supply the entire Russian fleet with in-flight mobile communication equipment.

Currently estimates vary between £135,000 and £340,000 per plane. The cost of the services is predicted to equal international standards and will cost around £3.50 per minute of conversation.

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