OnAir and Aviation Center Cologne (ACC) have reached an agreement for the provision of communication services to the business jet market. Under the agreement, ACC will install the airborne equipment to enable business jet passengers to use their mobile phones and BlackBerry-type devices during flights to make and receive calls, and to exchange emails and text messages.ACC, which has operational centres at Cologne airport and in Luxembourg, is one of Europe’s leading providers of maintenance and modification services for business jets, with particular expertise in Bombardier Challenger aircraft. OnAir is the leading inflight passenger communications service provider, using Inmarsat’s cutting-edge SwiftBroadband satellite communications for the air-to-ground link. The service will be available to ACC customers from early 2009.
Joachim Taube, CEO of Aviation Center Cologne, said, “Business jet owners and passengers want convenience and part of that is the ability to remain in touch when they are flying. OnAir’s technology enables them to use their own mobile phones and PDAs, just like anywhere on the ground.”
The OnAir service replaces the existing in-seat phones. The key advantages are that it enables passengers to use their own devices to access a wider range of services, including email, SMS and the contact list stored in the phone. It also removes the need for a separate phone number when onboard and instead passengers can be reached on their normal number as if they were on the ground.
As well as providing ease of use for the traveller, the technology also provides benefits for the growing fractional ownership market. In particular, it simplifies operational management because passengers use their own phones and are billed through their home mobile provider, meaning there is no need to invoice aircraft customers separately for their onboard communications.
The service is currently flying with Air France and TAP. Ryanair, bmi and Shenzhen Airlines will follow shortly. Other airlines that have agreements with OnAir are AirAsia, AirAsiaX, Jazeera Airlines, Kingfisher Airlines, Oman Air and Royal Jordanian. OnAir also has agreements with Jet Aviation and Airbus Corporate Jetliners.