Ryanair trials in flight mobile calls

[September 26th 2008]

In flight mobile calls

Low cost airline Ryanair is set to start trials of mobile phones on its flights from the UK.

The budget airline is reported to be installing mobile phone masts on 14 of its planes to begin with. Swiss telecoms firm OnAir is said to be supplying the technology.

The service is set to launch next month on the O2 and 3 mobile phone networks with other networks also expected to come onboard. Costs will be based on roaming charges which should equate to around £2 per minute and could therefore add considerably to the cost of a budget flight.

Responding to questions about possible objections from other passengers to in flight mobile calls, Ryanair CEO, Michael O’Leary stated: “If you want a quiet flight use another airline”.

Dubai based airline Emirates became the first airline to offer mobile phone services on a commercial flight in March. AeroMobile installed the mobile phone technology on an Airbus A340-300 and since then has also installed it on other Emirates Airbus and Boeing 777-300 planes on several routes, including flights to Europe and Australia.

“There has been overwhelmingly positive feedback since the service launched in March, with between 40 to 60 per cent of passengers switching on their phones on flights where the service is available,” reports AeroMobile chief executive, Bjorn-Taale Sandberg.

Earlier this month Brazilian airline TAM and OnAir announced the first in flight mobile phone communications service in the Americas. "Our passengers, especially those on business trips, will have permanent connection to their offices and clients, gaining efficiency and productivity,” said TAM CEO, Captain David Barioni Neto. TAM is the biggest airline in South America.

In July, TAP Portugal also began a trial of OnAir’s in flight mobile phone services. “We are very pleased to be the first Star Alliance member to trial Mobile OnAir, a service we believe will add greatly to the quality of the time our customers spend flying with us. We believe that both business and leisure passengers will very much welcome this new service and that it will provide us with a definite competitive edge,” said TAP CEO, Fernando Pinto.

TAP Portugal crew are able to turn off the mobile phone service at any time, or switch it to silent text and email mode only.

Written by: Nick Purdom


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