Mango aims to be the first South African airline to offer Internet connectivity on board all its aircraft later this year, subject to CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) approval processes. It expects G-Connect on-board Internet to come in at less than R1.00 per Megabyte.
The airline, whose partnership with G-Connect has already delivered more affordable bandwidth to South Africans, has extended the association to include an in-flight service.
“Mango’s focus this year is not only on enhancing service delivery to our guests, but in the continual exploration of innovation and ancillary revenue opportunities," says CEO Nico Bezuidenhout. "The launch of Web connectivity on board our aircraft not only underpins Mango’s business objectives but allows travellers, in particular our business guests, to leverage a priceless commodity – time.”
Bezuidenhout says Mango’s Internet service will be operational across its fleet of new generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft, and it will follow a similar rollout process as America’s low cost Southwest airline.
Carel van der Merwe, CEO of WirelessG, says: “G-Connect strives to be an innovative product within the telecoms space, but with our first in-flight partnership with Mango, we are able to take this one step further and provide a low cost Internet service for local flyers as well.
"There are no sign-up costs to get a G-Connect account and no contract tie-ins, which makes this a viable option for all Mango Guests. Your G-Connect account then allows you stay connected through a shared wallet on the ground, or in-flight WiFi in the air, paying only for the services use."
The satellite-based technology will deliver high-speed Internet at altitude.
“In fact, the cost of data transfer is more affordable than many bandwidth offerings on the ground,” says Bezuidenhout.
Several airlines, including cost Southwest, have made connectivity at altitude available globally with great success.
Bezuidenhout adds, though, that Mango’s service will be moderated to exclude access to potentially offensive web content. “In order to ensure the comfort of all our Ggests on board, content that should be accessed in privacy will not be available.”
Subash Devkaran, senior manager: aircraft certification division of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) adds: "The application for and availaibility of wireless Internet on board commercial airliners is welcomed by the CAA. We do believe installation of this system would facilitate business efficiency in South Africa, thereby contributing to enhanced economic growth in the country."