Kingfisher to enable in-flight mobile phone usage

15 September, 2007:

Vijay Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines is currently mulling over mobile phone usage aboard flights. The fastest growing carrier has said it would introduce
in-flight mobile phone capability.

Reports say that Kingfisher Airlines would fit the technology on 10 of its aircraft initially. The company hopes that it can expand the service to its entire fleet of 158 aircraft later on. The airline is also looking at options to provide passengers features like web chat and web mail, with mobile phoning and full internet access available by 2009.

Internationally, European low-cost airline Ryan Air will introduce mobile telephone services in its aircraft in September 2007. Besides Ryan, Shenzhen Airlines, a Chinese carrier, had announced in September 2007 that it would introduce the capability in an effort to lure more business travelers. The airine companies will have to bank on in-flight mobile phone service providers, OnAir and AeroMobile.

Kingfisher has inked an agreement with OnAir, which is partly owned by Airbus. OnAir had a European breakthrough in June 2007 when its technology was cleared by the European Aviation Safety Agency. US regulators, however, have refused to allow any in-flight mobile phone technology.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that AeroMobile expects to announce soon another four airline deals, three of them in the Asia-Pacific region. With a lot of interest happening on this front in Asia, AeroMobile might succeed in roping in clients in the days to come.




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