The Verizon Airfone has become a familiar site to air passengers in the US, having operated on-board telephone service for the last 20 years on Delta, United, Continental, and US Airways.

James Pilcher, director of marketing for Airfone, said, "The decision is based on Verizon Communications' strategy to focus on its core business, which is broadband, wireline, and wireless".

The service will continue to operate on 3400 corporate and government planes, but not on commercial ones.

The new focus on broadband does not, apparently, include in-flight service, as Verizon Airfone lost out to JetBlue Airways and AirCell in an auction of nationwide airwaves last month.

JetBlue and Aircell are expected to develop wireless hot spots on planes for passengers to check email and surf the net.