OnAir announces mobile phone services on board commercial flights
OnAir Announces partner to develop world’s first airborne system for mobile phone use
Hamburg - April 05, 2005
OnAir today announced that the Airbus facility at Buxtehude, near
Hamburg, on behalf of OnAir, will develop, and seek certification
for, the world’s first airborne system for the commercial
use of mobile phones on board aircraft.
“This airborne system is fundamental to OnAir’s
business objective of making mobile phone use a reality on short
and long haul flights for both Boeing and Airbus aircraft,”
said OnAir CEO, George Cooper, speaking at the opening of Aircraft
Interiors Expo 2005 in Hamburg today.
“OnAir is pleased to be working with a company which is
world-renowned in the industry for the quality of its design work
on aircraft cabin electronics for the world’s two leading
aircraft manufacturers. Airbus also enjoys a high reputation throughout
the industry for the quality of their maintenance and customer
support services. The support and expertise which they can tap
in the Airbus group will also be vital to the success of the whole
certification process,” added Cooper.
Airbus’s initial mandate for OnAir is to design, develop
and certify a system which, it is intended, will be installed
or retro-fitted on any of the Airbus A320 series of aircraft flying
on routes in western Europe by mid-2006.
The OnAir airborne system is to include a lightweight GSM pico-cell
and a network control unit which will ensure that passengers’
mobile phones may be switched on in the aircraft without generating
interference to the aircraft systems or to the ground mobile networks
in compliance with certification and regulatory requirements.
The system is also to include a server which manages the overall
system and supports the establishment of communications through
the satellite communications equipment, linking the airborne system
to the OnAir ground infrastructure.
The airborne system will receive information from the aircraft
systems such as altitude, aircraft position and flight phase.
The cabin crew has access to a dedicated control panel for switching
the system into the selected service mode (e.g. SMS & GPRS
only) and monitoring the system status.
Mr. Rainer von Borstel, VP cabin electronics systems of Airbus
Buxtehude, said: “We are happy to partner with OnAir and
to play such an important part in this landmark development for
modern aviation. This will be a very major addition to our existing
suite of cabin systems for the world’s major aircraft manufacturers.
We are actively identifying suppliers to work with us who have
the required GSM and satellite communications experience.”
The complete OnAir service portfolio will allow airline passengers
to use their personal devices, such as mobile phones, PDAs and
laptops, to communicate in a variety of ways during flights, i.e.
make and receive phone calls, send and receive text messages,
read and send e-mail, access corporate networks, browse the Internet
or chat. Some services, such as text messaging, are also provided
through the in-flight entertainment system.
OnAir is jointly owned by SITA INC (information Networking Computing)