Dubai’s Emirates airline said in a statement last evening that it is set to launch Wi-Fi services across its fleet of A380 jumbo jets for passengers to “surf, share, email, or tweet their way across the Emirates network.”
The Wi-Fi Internet connectivity, being launched with service provider OnAir, will initially be available on 11 of the airline’s 19 A380s but will eventually be rolled out across the entire fleet, including the 71 Emirates A380s on order, the airline said.
“Customers can access the service of the Wi-Fi in the sky onboard their flight using their Wi Fi enabled devices including smartphones, tablets and laptops,” the statement said.
However, the service comes at a charge. Price plans start at $7.50 (about Dh28) for mobile devices and $15 (about Dh55) on laptops for data packages that allow Internet access.
“The $7.50 package should be sufficient for the average Blackberry user to stay connected all the way from Dubai to Paris – a flight of over six and one half hours,” the airline said in the statement.
“As part of a proving phase, customers onboard many A380 flights have been using the service for many months already as the system was installed and activated on the first few A380s last year,” Emirates said.
“Emirates recognises that being connected inflight is increasingly important especially on our longer flights. Adding internet access is going to be a vital and ubiquitous part of any inflight experience, just as it is in everyday life on the ground,” said Patrick Brannelly, Vice President Corporate Communications Product, Publishing, Digital and Events.
“As a result of our testing, we were able to learn a lot about what people like to do with the internet inflight and are pleased to be able to launch with very affordable pricing options.”
“Emirates has led the way in mobile phone use onboard with 91 aircraft currently allowing the service,” he added. “We are obviously delighted to launch OnAir Wi-Fi on our A380 Aircraft and we will continue to invest in additional communications products across our entire fleet.”
In addition to Wi-Fi, from mid-2012 all new Emirates A380s will be delivered with a full range of Wi-Fi, mobile phone and mobile data services.
“Emirates is continuously introducing the latest advanced technology to its customers for use on board out fleet. Making inflight connectivity available is a value added service that Emirates customers will highly enjoy; this is particularly true of our A380 fleet, since the aircraft is the epitome of modern airline technology,” added Adel Al Redha, Emirates Executive Vice President, Engineering and Operations. “With the OnAir product onboard, Emirates ensures our passengers will enjoy being connected in the sky on our most advanced aircraft.”
“The fact that Emirates has chosen OnAir connectivity services for its A380 fleet validates our strategy of developing a SwiftBroadband-based consistent global service. With the significant expansion of the Emirates A380 aircraft and global route network, it is important for passengers to access connectivity services anytime and anywhere,” said Ian Dawkins, CEO of OnAir.