updated 4/2/2009 10:35:37 AM ET 2009-04-02T14:35:37

EU officials say the number of aircraft equipped with services allowing passengers to use cell phones in the skies above Europe will double by next year.

EU spokesman Martin Selmayr says only a total of 27 aircraft from three airlines — British Midland Airways Ltd., also known as bmi; Portugal's TAP, and low-cost airline Ryanair — currently offer a pay-for-service to use mobile phones on board. Air France-KLM finished a seven-month trial last year, but has not yet decided whether to implement the service on its European routes.

The EU introduced plans a year ago allowing the safe use of cell phones during flights.

The United States and many other countries still ban the use of cell phones and other mobile devices in the air because of safety concerns.

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