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TAM Signs Contract for Mobile Communications Aboard Its Aircraft

12th September 2008 - 00:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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TAM Linhas Aereas (NYSE: TAM) will be the first airline in the Americas to offer onboard mobile phone service on its Airbus A320s, to be provided by OnAir -- a joint venture of Airbus and Sita, an organization that develops cutting edge technology for aviation. A trail-blazing partnership signed with the company will enable TAM passengers to use their cell phones and smartphones in flight -- for voice, SMS messaging or emails -- on South American routes.

The system is expected to begin working in the second half of 2009. The startup of operations will depend on approval by the National Agency of Civil Aviation (Anac) and the National Agency of Telecommunications (Anatel), as well as the adjustment of legislation that only authorizes cell phone use when the aircraft is on the ground and the doors are open.

The announcement of the agreement took place this Wednesday in Long Beach, California (USA) at the trade fair of the World Airline Entertainment Association (WAEA), the largest event in the world devoted to onboard entertainment. The system was certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (Easa), and its use was recently regulated by the European Union. The mechanism ensures complete safety for passengers, since it prevents signals from devices from causing interference in the aircrafts commands. In addition, should the need arise, the system can be shut down at any time. The company chose the OnAir system after two years of assessing connectivity solutions available on the market.

"Offering this advanced technology to our customers confirms our leadership in the airline market in Brazil, and is one more example of our constant quest for Service Excellence, one of the pillars of our company," states TAM president, Captain David Barioni Neto. "Our passengers, particularly those traveling in business class, will be able to stay in contact with their offices and clients, enhancing efficiency and productivity."

OnAir president, Benoit Debains, underscored TAM's status as a pioneer in adopting this onboard communications system. "We are very pleased by the fact that TAM, one of the leaders in innovation in passenger service, and the largest airline in South America, has chosen OnAir to implement this additional benefit for its passengers," he said.

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