Oman Air has joined a growing number of Middle East airlines planning to offer OnAir’s inflight passenger communications services, which includes mobile phone and BlackBerry usage, as well as Internet access.
From 2009, Oman Air passengers will be able to use their mobile phones and BlackBerry-type devices to send and receive text messages, emails including attachments, and to make and receive mobile phone calls during flights. They will also be able to use laptops and the seat-back inflight entertainment screen to access the Internet and use webmail and instant messaging. The OnAir service is based on Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband.
OnAir’s service will be fitted on the seven new Airbus A330 aircraft to be delivered to Oman Air in 2009. The aircraft will fly on long-haul routes from Oman to both Asia and Europe.
Ziad Karim Al Haremi, CEO of Oman Air, says: “Oman Air has consistently contributed to the technological advance of commercial aviation. We always aim to improve our services and as we introduce our long-haul routes, we are very pleased to be one of the first airlines to offer the full range of passenger communications options. We selected OnAir because it is the only provider that can offer a fully integrated solution that includes both mobile and Internet services.”
Mobile OnAir will allow unlimited text messages and emails including attachments to be received and sent, and will allow up to 12 simultaneous voice calls. A central feature of the service is the crew’s ability to turn it off at any time, or switch it to ‘silent’ – text and email only – mode, enabling the airline to customize the services to its passengers’ preferences. For example, airlines could turn off the voice element, or even the whole service, during quiet times.
Benoit Debains, CEO of OnAir, adds: “We are very pleased to be bringing our inflight passenger communications services to Oman Air’s passengers. OnAir is the only company that can meet Oman Air’s need the full range of inflight connectivity services including voice calls, SMS, emails including attachments and Internet connectivity. Oman Air is OnAir’s third customer in the Middle East, demonstrating our strength in the region.”