OAK BROOK, Ill.-GTE Airfone said it has already issued more than 40,000 aircall cards for its new ground-to-air calling feature, which enables airline passengers to receive telephone calls in the air.

Air travelers need a personal aircall number from GTE Airfone and pay a $2 activation charge to receive calls. The aircall rate is $2.50 per minute for domestic calls, the same as air-to-ground calls, plus a $2.50 set-up charge. The system also accepts incoming international calls.

This service is the first of its kind and is presently available on Delta Shuttle and USAir flights between Boston, New York and Washington, D.C., as well as transcontinental flights on United Airlines.

By 1995, GTE plans to implement its GenStar Service on more than 600 aircraft serving Delta, United, Reno Air, TWA, Aeromexico, Mexicana and Air Canada.

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