Air France will take delivery in early 2007 of the first Airbus aircraft fitted with the OnAir GSM equipment enabling the use of mobile phones on board.Air France will receive the first aircraft, a single-aisle Airbus A318 that will have the OnAir system pre-installed, and will conduct a six month commercial trial using the new service.
The passenger trials will take place on short-haul flights within Europe and to and from North African destinations, and will help Air France to consider every impact this new service may have on the cabin environment and the travel experience.
George Cooper, OnAir CEO, said: “Delivery of the first aircraft to be fitted with our system is a landmark development in this industry. It prepares the ground for many types of aircraft to be similarly equipped.
“OnAir is pleased that an Air France A318 aircraft will be the first off the Airbus assembly line with this equipment installed and that the airline has committed to a six months trial of our system. This is a further endorsement of our service.
This aircraft will be flying as part of one of the world’s largest airlines and this therefore represents a very significant step forward for OnAir.”
Rüdiger Fuchs, Airbus SVP Cabin & Cargo Customisation and member of the OnAir Board points out: “By introducing onboard mobile communication services Airbus underlines its leadership in cabin innovations. As a very important Airbus customer, we are particularly delighted to deliver the first aircraft to Air France; for the airline industry in general, we expect this to be the first of many line- and retrofit aircraft, enabling airlines to respond to growing passenger demand to communicate onboard.”
The OnAir service will allow Air France travellers to use their own GSM mobile phones and GPRS-enabled devices such as the BlackBerry or Treo, to make and receive voice calls or to send and receive SMS messages or emails during the flight without harmful interference to the aircraft navigation systems.