Keeping cellphones off during flights will soon be a thing of the past with Air New Zealand set to introduce new aircraft with mobile and web services later this year.

Those on board the new Boeing 777-300 aircraft which makes it maiden flight in November will be able to send and receive text messages and emails and use the internet during the cruise stage of flight, international airline group general manager Ed Sims said today.

But the airline does not plan to enable voice calls on board, based on customer feedback.

Customers would be able to use iPhone, Blackberrys and GSM mobile phones, along with laptops and Netbooks with a mobile broadband connection, like a Telecom T-Stick or Vodafone Vodem.

Passengers would also be requested to keep their phones on silent mode, Mr Sims said.

Customers would pay standard in-flight roaming costs and be billed by their own mobile service provider.

Telecom XT customers would pay 80c per outbound text and no cost to receive them, and $40 per megabyte of data for mobile broadband.

Other mobile phone providers, including Vodafone, would confirm their pricing in the coming months.

The service would be delivered in partnership with in-flight phone and data operator Aeromobile but was still subject to regulatory approval, Mr Sims said.

- NZPA