Ryanair and OnAir are signing a deal that will see Ryanair’s entire fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft fitted with OnAir’s onboard mobile communications solution. The announcement will make Ryanair the first European airline to offer Europe-wide mobile telephony services during flights across its entire fleet of aircraft to all passengers via their own mobile phones and smartphones.
The deal means that from mid 2007 (subject to relevant regulatory approval) Ryanair’s passengers will be able to call, text and e-mail using their mobile phones, BlackBerrys? and Treos? at rates which will mirror international roaming charges. OnAir intend to fit 50 Ryanair aircraft during the second half of 2007, with the remainder of the fleet receiving installations from early 2008 onwards. Mobile OnAir will be offered on all Ryanair flights across Ryanair’s network of more than 360 routes serving 23 countries across Europe. Ryanair will be the first European airline to offer this mobile telephony to all passengers on all of its 200 plus aircraft fleet.
Developed by inflight communications specialist OnAir, Mobile OnAir uses advanced lightweight onboard technology to allow passengers to make and receive calls, exchange SMS messages and connect to e-mail via satellite broadband links and a ground network to be supplied by OnAir’s telecoms infrastructure partner, Monaco Telecom.
OnAir’s solution allows mobile phone operators to charge passengers using Mobile OnAir at rates in line with current international roaming charges on passengers’ normal monthly bills. Ryanair will receive a commission from OnAir on call revenues generated by passengers on board its aircraft.
Announcing the new service initiative, Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary said: “This is another revolutionary passenger service initiative from Ryanair. In addition to offering our customers the lowest air fares and youngest fleet of aircraft, Ryanair will soon enable passengers to use their mobile phones and electronic communications devices in the air, just as they do on the ground. That means they will be able to pass on the good news to workmates, friends and family that they are travelling on another on-time flight with Europe’s most punctual airline.
“This is a win-win for Ryanair, OnAir and most importantly our customers. The revenues generated by onboard mobile telephony will reduce our costs and help us to keep offering the lowest fares in Europe while at the same time doubling the size of our operation over the next five years as we grow to carry 80M passengers annually by 2012.”
George Cooper, CEO of OnAir, added: “We are delighted that Ryanair is to become the first carrier to install Mobile OnAir throughout its fleet. Not only is Ryanair one of the world’s most innovative airlines, but the deal is also a strong endorsement of the all round capability of our solution for both Boeing and Airbus aircraft”.
Ryanair has also been nominated at this year’s World Travel Awards in the category of World’s Leading Budget Airline.