Jazeera Airways, the Kuwait and Dubai based airline, is to provide its passengers with OnAir’s inflight mobile phone services, including voice, SMS and GPRS.
The OnAir service will enable Jazeera Airways’ passengers to use their mobile phones and BlackBerry-type devices to send and receive text messages, emails including attachments, and to make and receive mobile phone calls inflight. The service is based on Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband.
The airline, which was listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange in January, currently has six Airbus A320 aircraft flying on routes in the Middle East. All six aircraft will be retro-fitted with OnAir equipment; the airline also has 34 further A320s on order, which will be line-fitted.
Marwan Boodai, Chairman and CEO of Jazeera Airways, said, “We are excited to be working with OnAir to be one of the first airlines in the world to install the technology that allows travelers to use their mobile phones during flights. Jazeera Airways and OnAir will offer the service which will be available to all passengers at rates similar to international roaming charges, and will empower passengers to continue communicating with their families or their office while flying.”
Mobile OnAir will allow unlimited text messages and emails including attachments to be received and sent, and will allow up to 12 simultaneous voice calls. A central feature of the service is the crew’s ability to turn it off at any time, or switch it to ‘silent’ – text and email only – mode, enabling the airline to customize the services to its passengers’ preferences. For example, airlines could turn off the voice element, or even the whole service, during quiet times.
Benoit Debains, CEO of OnAir, said, “We are very pleased to partner with Jazeera Airways on this great opportunity. Jazeera Airways is one of the fastest growing airlines in the Middle East and this deal confirms OnAir’s position as the passenger communications supplier of choice in the Middle East region. It also confirms our role as the leading supplier of inflight passenger communications thanks to our SwiftBroadband capability.”