Does Your Airline Let You Tweet, Text and Talk?


With the rise of mobile everything, the airlines have a pretty sweet market opportunity to capture all the mobile connectivity of their airport secured and flying passengers, and eventually, turn that four-hour-market-lockup into purchasing power. The beginning is bound to be the email, tweeting, talking, and texting that is the first sign of this ‘mobile disease’ and from what we see, it is just the beginning. Recent studies have shown some reluctance of US purchasers to get on board, but that is probably a fallout of the focused hacking and lack of chipped credit cards… but it is an inevitability. In fact, there may even be an opportunity to pay-for-no-commercials, a concept that Apple is trying to fly.

Back to our subject: we got an idea for this topic and we found an OnAir Infographic in our email that tied nicely to the subject. As you may know, we love info graphics because they tell a complete story in pictures and numbers (few words) and are a data lover’s dream come true. Be sure to download the latest OnAir infographic. There’s an infographic lesson here and we think the OnAir folks got it right.

Back to the news release: “Does your airline let you tweet, text and talk? OnAir’s customers do. We offer passengers seamlessly connected journeys, year round, wherever you’re headed. Download our new infographic, with lots of facts and figures, from here. At least 70% of passengers carry a smartphone and people check their phones on average 150 times a day. So why not on a plane? When both GSM and Wi-Fi are available, 80% prefer using Mobile OnAir for emailing, text messages and calls. People use Internet OnAir, the Wi-Fi hotspot, for tweets and Facebook updates, to check the news and for travel bookings – 94% of passengers bring at least one personal electronic device onto the plane, so OnAir Play provides inflight entertainment direct to your own phone, tablet or laptop. For more information: Follow OnAir on LinkedIn. Watch OnAir on YouTube, Look at OnAir on Flikr ”

Aside from the marketing hyperbole, the OnAir folks see the inflight connectivity market developing, and communication is the first phase of this market opportunity in the sky. Aurélie Branchereau-Giles – Director, PR & Communications told IFExpress: “OnAir sets the benchmark for global inflight connectivity services, with 50 customers on five continents. We are the only provider to offer consistent global coverage for both inflight GSM and Wi-Fi, thanks to regulatory approvals from over 90 countries, 350 roaming agreements, and by using Inmarsat’s I4 satellite networks. Our products enable passengers to use their own mobile phones, smartphones, tablets and laptops in exactly the same way as they do on the ground, either through the onboard GSM network or the onboard Wi-Fi hotspot. The products are available as line-fit or retrofit for all commercial aircraft, as well as government, VIP and business jets, and ships – check out the inforgraphic for the whole story.”

Next, we wanted to let our readers know that Lumexis has a new VP Sales, Jonathan Norris. Lumexis Corporation recently announced that Jonathan Norris, highly regarded in airline industry circles for his lengthy experience in advanced aircraft cabin systems technology and extensive understanding of IFEC trends, has accepted the position of Vice President of Sales for the company. “Many of us have long known and respected Jon in his key management roles at Airbus and more recently with the APEX magazine activity,” said Doug Cline, CEO of Lumexis. “He brings a wealth of talent and experience in IFEC that clearly validates his independent assessment of our people and products. Everyone in our company is delighted that he will be joining our tight-knit team and we look forward to working closely with him to attain line-fit offerability with major OEMs in the near future and win new business from global airlines and leasing companies.” He should be onboard in the next couple weeks, one spokesperson told IFExpress. We expect he will be making many trips to Seattle and Tolouse.

Lastly, we heard that Inmarsat has announced passenger connectivity via the Inmarsat network and is serving passengers via Wi-Fi on Air China. Internet access took place on 3rd July, on an Air China Airbus A330 flying from Beijing to Chengdu. The aircraft used Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband service provided by Inmarsat’s Chinese partner MCN. Check out the MCN website. The Inmarsat SwiftBroadband based cabin Wi-Fi connectivity allowed all passengers to access the Internet for web browsing, instant messaging and other applications. This capability is the result of the close cooperation between Air China and MCN, Inmarsat’s leading Chinese distributor. The Chinese aviation regulator, the Chinese Aviation Authority of China (CAAC), was also closely involved in the project from the start to ensure that all necessary approvals were in place for the system and Inmarsat service. What remains unknown to IFExpress is the manufacturer of the airborne Wi-Fi equipment… an MCN partner, we were told?

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