Qatar Airways, the national airline of the country, will fit its next generation A350 and A380 fleets with mobile and internet connectivity from OnAir, a global in-flight connectivity services provider, as reported by TradeArabia News Service.
“The pattern emerging is that business travellers typically use mobile data for email and reading the news. Leisure passengers are more likely to send text messages or update twitter and Facebook accounts”- Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways
This follows the GCC-based airline operating OnAir’s GSM on its A320s for more than three years. In total, more than 150 Qatar Airways’ aircraft will reportedly have OnAir connectivity, including its Boeing 787s.
Qatar Airways’ passengers have the choice, the airline claims, of using either the GSM network or WiFi.
“We have been operating Mobile OnAir for more than three years on some of our aircraft and it’s clear that our passengers want, and are coming to expect, in-flight connectivity,” said Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways.
“We have seen high levels of usage of the OnAir services on flights to and from Europe, as well as on regional flights. The pattern emerging is that business travellers typically use mobile data, for example for email and reading the news. Leisure passengers are more likely to send text messages or update twitter and Facebook accounts.”
The airline currently has orders for 13 Airbus A380s, including options, with deliveries starting in 2014. The airline also has orders for 80 A350s.
“Qatar Airways is the first of four airlines to date to have selected OnAir for its A350 fleet, and our fifth A380 customer,” said Ian Dawkins, CEO of OnAir.
OnAir reportedly has regulatory approvals from more than 90 countries, as well as roaming agreements with more than 350 mobile network operators. Also, OnAir uses Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband network, designed reportedly to provide worldwide satellite coverage.