Aircraft Interiors, Hamburg, 9 April 2013 – Saudia is expanding its inflight connectivity programme on routes between the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and most of Saudia worldwide destinations. This comes after Saudia has been providing OnAir’s GSM and Wi-Fi on its A330s for nearly three years.
Saudia’s passengers have taken to social media to say how much they value staying in touch with family, friends and colleagues, updating social media and surfing the Internet during flights. Comments have included: ‘Thanks, it’s very good because it’s easy to use;’ ‘I used my mobile on a flight today: excellent;’ and, ‘Awesome: keep going.’
Saudia’s new A330s, which will be delivered throughout this year and next, will be equipped with Mobile OnAir and Internet OnAir. They will join the A330s already flying with OnAir connectivity, bringing the total to 12. The airline’s existing and planned fleet of 20 B777-300ERs will also have OnAir’s GSM and Wi-Fi services fitted, enabled by the Thales TopConnect solution. Both fleets will use Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband, the only satellite network designed specifically to provide consistent global coverage.
“Our experience has shown very clearly that passengers want to be able to use their phones, tablets and laptops to stay in touch during flights. That alone is a good enough reason to provide connectivity more widely because we value customer satisfaction very highly,” said Mr. Tarik Sindi, VP Marketing & Product Management of Saudia.
The Connected Aircraft
OnAir is building on its heritage of passenger connectivity by optimizing the use of inflight connectivity pipe, providing applications for cabin crew and the cockpit which help streamline airline operations.
“The future of connectivity is very exciting. There is much more to it than connectivity for the passenger,” said Ian Dawkins, OnAir CEO. “Airlines run highly automated, complex IT systems. However, the interface between the crew and the ground relies heavily on paper. That is outdated, slow, inefficient and expensive. We help airlines utilise their IT better, using the connectivity pipe to make operations much more efficient.”
OnAir sets the benchmark for global inflight connectivity services, with 50 customers on five continents. We are the only provider to offer consistent global coverage for both inflight GSM and Wi-Fi, thanks to regulatory approvals from over 90 countries, 350 roaming agreements, and by using Inmarsat’s I4 satellite networks.
OnAir’s products enable passengers to use their own mobile phones, smartphones, tablets and laptops in exactly the same way as they do on the ground, either through the onboard GSM network or the onboard Wi-Fi hotspot. The products are available as linefit or retrofit for all commercial aircraft, as well as government, VIP and business jets, and ships.
OnAir was incorporated in February 2005 and is owned by SITA, the leading IT solutions provider to the air transport world. OnAir is a member of the GSM Association and an Inmarsat Distribution Partner for both SBB and GX Aviation services.
Qatar Airways’ A350 and A380 fleets will be line-fitted with both Mobile OnAir and Internet OnAir.
OnAir has revealed full details of its extensive Supplemental Type Certificate portfolio, which ensures connectivity is rapidly available on a wide range of commercial aircraft types.
The first flight for a Chinese airline equipped with passenger Wi-Fi connectivity internet access took place on 3rd July, on an Air China Airbus A330 flying from Beijing to Chengdu.
Passengers can now make and receive phone calls, and send and receive emails and text messages from 30,000 feet.