Saudia’s New B777s Enter Service With Full Connectivity

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  • OnAir GSM and Wi-Fi line fitted on Saudia’s newest aircraft

APEX Expo, Anaheim, CA | September 10, 2013– Mobile OnAir and Internet OnAir will go into commercial service on new B777-300ER aircraft later this week. Saudia’s passengers on these aircraft can now email, browse the Internet, update social media, text and talk on the phone as they fly between the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia, the UK and the US.

In this instance, OnAir connectivity uses Thales’ TopConnect solution, which will be line fitted to all remaining deliveries of Saudia’s B777-300ERs. This week’s service entry comes just five months after the deal for the whole 20-strong B777-300ER fleet was first announced.

Passengers on Saudia A330 fleet have already been enjoying OnAir connectivity for the past three years. Over this period, 80% of passengers who connected to Internet OnAir used a mobile phone or tablet.

Those using Mobile OnAir find it simple because it operates in the same way as international roaming. Interestingly, 31% of them use the onboard network for voice calls, nearly three times the average across OnAir’s entire operations while SMS use is around half the OnAir average, at 20%.

“We are supporting Saudia as it expands its coverage of strategic routes to Europe and North America. These are important routes for business travellers, who need to remain in contact during the flight,” said Ian Dawkins, CEO of OnAir. “Uniquely, we offer global coverage and we deliver on our promises. Because we provide platform-agnostic solutions, we always help airlines choose the right technology to suit their specific needs.”

“We need to have the same offering on all our flights, wherever they are, which is why we have included OnAir connectivity on our B777 fleet,” said Mr. Tarik Sindi, VP Marketing & Product Management of Saudia. “We want to provide our passengers with the best cabin services. We know people want the choice to be able to stay in touch during the flight, so we must help them do so.”

“In addition, Saudia is planning to increase the number of aircraft offering new products for our valued passengers,” continued Mr. Tarik Sindi. “Our new B777-300ER comes with the most elegant entertainment system, with a wide range of new features and more than 800 hours of nonstop entertainment. Also, our new aircraft is equipped with the most comfortable fully flatbed seat in first and business class.”

Saudia has completed its preparations to operate its first flight to Toronto, Canada and flights will soon operate to Los Angeles.

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