India’s Kingfisher Airlines and China’s Shenzhen Airlines have both agreed to install OnAir’s in-flight communications systems for phone and data. Two other Asian carriers, AirAsia and AirAsia X, also plan to offer OnAir services, bringing the number of Asian customers to four.
Demonstration systems will be installed on three Shenzhen Airlines planes by August of next year, at the time of the Beijing Olympics. By the middle of 2009, the OnAir will be available on all the carrier‘s aircraft. The airline will be the first in China with facilities for passengers to use their own communication devices while in the air.
Kingfisher will begin implementation of OnAir services in 2008 and continue through 2009, installing the system on five Airbus A330s and five Airbus 340-500s. OnAir will eventually be available on all long-range aircraft.
OnAir has five European customers, including Air France. The airline will conduct trials of the mobile phone system late this year. BMI and TAP will start trials at the beginning of 2008.
According to OnAir chief commercial officer Graham Lake, “By the end of 2007 we expect to see several more in Asia, more in Europe and by early next year I expect we’ll see our first one in America, either North or South,” says Lake.