WAEA: AeroMobile celebrates service half-anniversary
AEROMOBILE is celebrating its first half-year of full commercial service. The British-based inflight connectivity provider launched its onboard cellphone capability in March with Emirates, which now has around 20 aircraft equipped as it moves towards a fleetwide rollout.
The company, a joint venture by ARINC and Norwegian mobile phone operator Telenor, has also just chalked up its century of telecoms roaming agreements. These contracts allow subscribers to ground mobile services to roam on to its airborne network.
Besides Emirates, the first airline in the world to offer its passengers cabin mobile phone on a full commercial basis, AeroMobile has contracts with Qantas Airways, V Australia, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Turkish Airlines, and says it is in advanced negotiations with another four carriers.
"The most satisfying news from the last six months operations with Emirates has been the overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers," says chief executive Bjorn-Taale Sandberg. "There has been so much misinformation about the potential impact of in-flight calls on other passengers. We now know the true picture - the service has been entirely accepted by those who have been in a position to use it."
He continues: "The AeroMobile service has been used by many thousands of passengers since it launched with Emirates and there has not been a single negative incident. On the contrary, it has been warmly welcomed by passengers."
Emirates installations are being carried out at the airline's own engineering facility in Dubai when the aircraft cycle through on scheduled maintenance, and now typically take two days or less to complete. The service is now operational on a wide range of Emirates routes to destinations in Europe (including London, Paris and Frankfurt), Africa, Asia and throughout the Middle East.
AeroMobile anticipates several more milestones in the coming months. They include the first line fit on a Boeing (a 777-300ER), the first delivery of AeroMobile technology incorporated with Panasonic Avionics Corporation's eX2 IFE system, installations on other airlines' 777s and on other Boeing types such as 737, and the introduction of Inmarsat SwiftBroadband 432kbit/sec satcoms for the air-to-ground link.
Aeromobile parent company ARINC has just announced that coverage of its SKYLink Ku-band satellite broadband service for business jets has been extended to include the Caribbean, Central America and part of South America. In use aboard more than 80 long-range bizjets, SKYLink has hitherto been available in North America, the North Atlantic and Europe, providing up to 3.5Mbit/sec to the aircraft.
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