OnAir gets green light

European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) has certified the airborne GSM equipment, which supports OnAir services on Airbus A318. For the first time, this will enable airline passengers in Europe to use their BlackBerry-type devices and mobile phones during flights.

EASA is the competent authority in the European Union with responsibility for the airworthiness certification of all aeronautical products. As such, it develops common safety rules at the European level and is also responsible for type-certification.

Benoit Debains, CEO of OnAir, said, “The airborne equipment has been designed to meet the specific needs of the aviation environment. This certification validates the integrity of the work that Airbus has done in developing and integrating technology from best of breed suppliers.”

Debains continued, “This airworthiness certification is a major milestone in the process of bringing our service to market. It follows successful testing earlier this year.”

The OnAir mobile telephony service will allow passengers to use their BlackBerry-type devices and mobile phones during flights to send and receive emails and text messages as well as make and receive calls. The service will be launched on an Air France aircraft, followed by bmi and TAP (of Portugal) aircraft. All three airlines will run single aircraft commercial trials on Airbus aircraft, which will allow them to fine-tune their passenger communications offer and evaluate it before embarking on a fuller-scale deployment. The first fleet deployment of OnAir’s services will be on Ryanair’s Boeing 737 aircraft.