OnAir has announced an agreement with Airblue, Pakistan’s fastest growing airline, to launch Mobile OnAir voice and data services on up to 12 of its Airbus A320 aircraft beginning in 2009.The announcement strengthens OnAir’s operations in the Middle East where OnAir has agreements with five airlines, which are planning to launch Mobile OnAir in 2009.
Mobile OnAir will enable Airblue passengers to make and receive voice calls, send and receive text messages and emails, download attachments in real time and access critical information while flying. Passengers will access Mobile OnAir with their own mobile phones or BlackBerry-type devices, just like they do on the ground. Charges, set by mobile phone operators, will appear on passengers’ mobile phone bills at rates similar to overseas roaming charges.
Tariq Chaudhary, CEO of Airblue, commented: “Airblue embodies a new era in passenger air travel. With services such as e-ticketing, wireless mobile check-in and self check-in kiosks in airports, we are constantly bringing innovations to our passengers. Mobile OnAir will enable us to create pioneering services generating revenue inflight, such as new entertainment options. They will also help us enhance our customer relationship management programmes.”
“Airblue has become known as an innovator in the region, particularly with services designed to increase security, convenience and affordability for passengers,” said Benoit Debains, CEO of OnAir. “With Mobile OnAir, Airblue will have new opportunities to innovate and develop new services, while at the same time, generating new revenues.”
The Airblue launch comes amidst mounting demand for inflight passenger communications. A growing number of commercial airlines and private aviation companies either currently offer OnAir inflight communications services or plan to offer them in the near future. In addition to Jazeera Airways, Oman Air, Royal Jordanian and Wataniya Airways, all of which plan launches in 2009, this includes commercial airlines such as Air Asia, bmi, Ryanair, Shenzhen Airlines, TAP, Kingfisher and TAM. It also includes private aviation companies and VIP and government customers such Airbus Corporate Jets, Jet Aviation and Aviation Center Cologne.
Since December 2007, passengers have used Mobile OnAir services on flights to more than 46 cities in 24 countries in Europe and North Africa. According to a recent passenger survey, 80% of passengers who have used Mobile OnAir services on selected flights would like these services to be available on every flight.