Home' Asian Aviation : AAV May 2010 Contents 32 AsianAviation | MAY 2010
and TV shows and music and video games -- all
from their own Wi-Fi devices."
Alaska Airlines tested the Row 44 service on a
single aircraft, with a view to equipping its 100-
plus aircraft eet for broadband connectivity.
However, following the trial the carrier opted for
AirCell s Gogo in- ight internet service instead.
Gogo currently provides coverage across the
United States and 100 miles beyond the border,
using Aircell s air-to-ground communications
network. Gogo turns the aircraft into an internet
hotspot, allowing passengers to surf the web,
check e-mails, conduct instant messaging and
log into corporate VPNs via their Wi-Fi-enabled
devices at a cost of US$5.95 to US$12.95,
depending on the length of ight and type of
device being used.
The service is currently available on almost 800
commercial aircraft. This includes the entire eet
of AirTran Airways and Virgin America, and select
ights of Air Canada, American Airlines, Delta Air
lines, US Airways and United. Alaska Airlines and
Continental will join the Gogo club later this year,
while negotiations are underway with numerous
Aircell is looking at international expansion.
"Aircell is developing an in- ight connectivity
solution for the international ights of Aircell s
North American airline customers. With the
rapid expansion of Aircell s business, several
international airlines and telecommunication
carriers have expressed an interest in partnering
with Aircell and launching Gogo in their local
and regional markets, Aircell is evaluating
these opportunities and conducting business
development activities in selected markets," it
Aircell says technology will determine the fate
of traditional seatback IFE, but passengers will
increasingly use their own entertainment devices
"The more and more people want to
stay connected, and as technology such as
Smartphones becomes more proli c, people will
take their own devices with them wherever they
go -- and inside an aircraft is one of those places
that they want connectivity," says Row 44.
OnAir goes further, believing that IFE will
progressively move to passenger devices.
"With their larger screens, enhanced audio
visual capabilities and user-friendly navigation
technology, today s mobile phones are well-
equipped to serve not only as communications
devices, but also as entertainment platforms,"
says Benoit Debains, chief executive o cer of
OnAir. "Over the next two to three years, airlines
will be able to migrate from current IFE systems
to passengers mobile phones as the primary
platform for IFE. Passengers will be able to access
on-demand movies and games -- even interact
with other passengers via gaming networks
onboard -- using their own mobile phone or
"With the high cost of IFE systems and the fact
that they add weight to the aircraft, more and
more airlines will be looking to mobile in- ight
communications systems as an alternative to
current IFE systems," Debains concludes.
OnAir s solution is in service with six airlines
on 14 aircraft, and the company has so far signed
agreements with 23 carriers. OnAir, an Airbus-
SITA joint venture that operates via the Inmarsat
SwiftBroadband system, is launching services
with six carriers -- Afriqiyah Airways, Air Asia,
Egyptair, Hong Kong Airlines, Libyan Airlines and
Saudi Arabia Airlines -- this year.
One recent contract loss, however, was Ryanair,
which operated the service on 50 aircraft for a year
and had planned to install it on its full eet. "The
two companies did not reach
a mutual agreement on the
process and timing leading to
the full deployment," says OnAir.
Neither company is commenting
further on the issue.
OnAir says it will shortly be
announcing deals with more
carriers, as well as strategic
partnerships with mobile phone
operators to enter new markets.
In March, OnAir and Oman Air
conducted the rst ight using
the full spectrum of mobile
and Wi-Fi internet connectivity
services using SwiftBroadband.
The services are offered on
one of Oman Air s new Airbus
A330s, operating on the Muscat-
London Heathrow route, with
plans to extend the services to
other Oman Air aircraft.
Meanwhile, AeroMobile, which
is partnered with Panasonic in
the eXPhone as part of its Global
Communications Suite, believes
seatback IFE has a future.
AeroMobile, which is now a
fully-owned subsidiary of the
Telenor Group after the departure
of former part-owner ARINC, has
six airline customers for its in-
ight mobile services -- Emirates,
Malaysian Airlines, Qantas, V
Australia, Lufthansa and Turkish
Airlines -- with agreements with further customers
expected in the next couple of months, it says.
AeroMobile service is currently available on 73
aircraft with service delivery via the Inmarsat
satellite system to passenger mobiles and PDAs.
AeroMobile operates through Inmarsat s Classic
Aero, Swift64 and SwiftBroadband services and
this year will operate through Panasonic s ku-
The AeroMobile service will be adopted by V
Australia in the second quarter of this year as part
of Panasonic s eX2 IFEC system. AeroMobile will
also be part of the Global Communications Suite
ku-band o erings with Lufthansa and Turkish
"Extensive and growing passenger take-up on
existing operational customers such as Emirates
clearly demonstrate that there is increasing
demand for in- ight connectivity," AeroMobile
says. "Whilst advances in connectivity will make
the in-flight use of passenger devices easier
and more commonplace, there will always be a
Panasonic's Karma handset allows
passengers to watch a movie at the same
time as ordering a drink, buying duty-free
goods or chatting with another passenger.
Links Archive AAV April 2010 AAV June 2010 Navigation Previous Page Next Page