TAP Portugal and OnAir have announced the start of TAP’s new inflight passenger communications services. This service will allow passengers on TAP flights across Europe to use their BlackBerry-type devices and mobile phones to send and receive emails and text messages, and to make and receive voice calls.TAP is one of the first European airlines to run a commercial trial of Mobile OnAir, which uses the latest Inmarsat satellite communications, SwiftBroadband, for high speed air-to-ground communications. The service will be available on a single Airbus A319 aircraft and after an initial period of six months, the success of the mobile services will be evaluated.
Fernando Pinto, CEOof TAP, said, “We are very pleased to be the first Star Alliance member to trial Mobile OnAir, a service we believe will add greatly to the quality of the time our customers spend flying with us. We believe that both business and leisure passengers will very much welcome this new service and that it will provide us with a definite competitive edge.”
Mobile OnAir will allow sending and receiving of unlimited text messages and emails including attachments, and will also allow voice calls. A central feature of the service is the crew’s ability to turn it off at any time, or switch it to silent’ - text and email only - mode, enabling the airline to customize the services to its passengers’ preferences.
Benoit Debains, CEO of OnAir, said, “Mobile OnAir’s Swift Broadband services have already been successfully used by passengers travelling to 36 cities in 18 countries across Europe and North Africa with overwhelmingly positive feedback. The start of the Mobile OnAir service on TAP will further increase demand for inflight passenger communications market, as well as confirming OnAir’s leading position.