Singapore Airlines is working with airline tech reseller, OnAir, to launch phone calls, messaging and in-flight wireless Internet services from the first half of 2011.
According to a statement released by the airline, its Airbus A380, Airbus A340-500 and Boeing 777-300ER aircraft flying from Australia and the rest of the world will be connected via satellites to phone services and wireless networks.
GSM-enabled phones and smartphone devices like Blackberries will be able to send and receive calls, text messages and emails during flights. While calls will be billed as a global roaming service, Internet packages will need to be bought from the airline.
OnAir is a jointly-owned company split between Airbus and in-flight IT provider, SITA. Its CEO, Ian Dawkins, claimed the move would help make in-flight services mainstream.
“It sends a strong signal to the industry that inflight passenger communications has come of age – and is a must-have for airlines looking to remain competitive in the future,” he said in a statement.
Singapore Airlines is claiming to be the first Asian airline to offer a complete suite of in-flight connectivity services. Australian carrier, Qantas, provides GPRS-based Internet for smartphones using small base stations on domestic flights. V Australia is planning to offer SMS and Internet services through rival tech firm, AeroMobile.
Prices for the Singapore Airlines services have not been released.