Press Release
Press Release

Bmi partners with OnAir to pioneer InFlight
BMI partners with OnAir to pioneer InFlight
Hamburg - September 20, 2005

Bmi today announced its intention to become the first British airline offering an inflight mobile phone service to passengers travelling to major business destinations out of Heathrow.

Bmi is preparing to trial the service on an Airbus A320 in late 2006 by which time OnAir expects that the onboard equipment developed for OnAir by Airbus, Siemens and other partners will be fully certified and the necessary telecommunications regulatory approvals will be in place permitting the safe use of mobile phones inflight for the first time.

“We are very excited about partnering with OnAir to make this service available to passengers in 2006,” said bmi chief executive officer, Nigel Turner. “This trial will guide us on usage patterns and some of the social issues in using mobile phones on aircraft. It will also help us to confirm the business case for rolling the service out across the remainder of the fleet. Initially we would hope to install the equipment in our short to medium-haul Airbus aircraft,” said Turner.

The target market for bmi will include business and leisure travellers to its destinations in Europe. The airline sees the offering as particularly attractive to business travellers flying out of Heathrow to UK destinations such as Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Belfast, and to European destinations such as Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels and Dublin.

“Our research tells us that our premium passengers have two key concerns. These are getting quickly through the airport and the ability to be able to carry on working during their journey,” said the bmi CEO.

“The OnAir offering opens up an exciting new era for business travellers allowing them to use their own GSM mobile phones and other GPRS-enabled devices such as the BlackBerry, to make and receive voice calls or to send and receive SMS messages or emails during the flight. We are sure that many travellers will welcome this expansion of their ability to keep in touch while in the air,” Turner added.

George Cooper, OnAir CEO said, “We are very pleased to have such a trend-setting partner taking up the OnAir service. bmi is the second largest airline operating out of Heathrow and its route network matches perfectly with our strategy of making mobile telephony available economically on short to medium-haul flights in Europe.”