Qatar Airways, voted “World’s Leading Business Class” at the 2008 World Travel Awards, has began the roll out of inflight mobile facilities by signing an agreement with OnAir for the installation of Mobile OnAir inflight passenger communications services on board its single-aisle fleet of 22 Airbus jets. However it will be not allowing phone calls for the time being.
Passengers will be able to stay connected inflight using their own mobile phones or BlackBerry-type devices to send and receive text messages and emails, and access the internet. They will also be able to access the internet using their own laptops fitted with GSM data cards.
Airlines equipped with OnAir services can choose to provide voice and data or data services only, depending on time of day and passenger preferences.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said that while the airline is stopping short of providing voice calls to passengers, it remains dedicated to providing passengers with the highest quality of service available in the air.
“Introducing internet, email and sms services to our single aisle fleet recognises this demand and is an additional service that I’m sure all airlines will adopt over time,” Al Baker said.
Mobile OnAir uses some of the industry’s most advanced and extensive infrastructure for mobile communications, along with Inmarsat SwiftBroadband, high capacity services from Inmarsat 4th generation satellites.
Qatar Airways currently flies over 6,000 flights each month, to over 160 cities in over 34 countries across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.