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SITA AIR TRANSPORT IT SUMMIT: Desire for passenger voice connectivity low, says BA's Walsh

1st July 2009 - 13:48 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


Airline customers wanted to stay connected while travelling, but few want voice capability, according to British Airways CEO, Willie Walsh.

"It's fascinating to see that in all our surveys, passengers want to remain connected with text, e-mail and so on, but only a small amount want voice connectivity," Walsh confirmed. "It will be interesting to see if there will be any growth in demand as time passes."

Speaking at the SITA Air Transport IT Summit, Walsh confirmed that with the downturn, the airline had considered not proceeding with its A318 service between London City and New York JFK, due to begin in the autumn. "We've reviewed it more than one, including after the Lehman Brothers crash in September 2008. But the market research convinced us to go forward with the plan."

The A318s on the route will have connectivity service provided by OnAir, in which SITA has a share. Walsh expects that more of this technology will be included on new aircraft the airline accepts in the future, such as the A380 and the 787. "We are not planning to retrofit our current aircraft," he confirmed, "as the the expense would be too great. This is really equipment that needs to be included in the final assembly stages."

Bernie Baldwin, editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/Inflight Online
Cannes, France


The Shephard News Team


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