Aussie airline Qantas is installing technology on all its domestic planes that will enable passengers to send and receive email and SMS via mobile phones or personal electronic devices.
The news comes just days after the first in flight mobile phone call was made on an Emirates airline flight between Dubai and Casablanca. Like Emirates, Qantas is using technology developed by AeroMobile.
Qantas trialled the new technology on a Boeing 767-300 aircraft between April 2007 and January 2008. “The evaluation of this new technology was a great success. An overwhelming majority of passengers involved in the evaluation indicated they wanted access to inflight connectivity on an ongoing basis,” says Qantas executive general manager, John Borghetti.
AeroMobile has developed technology which enables mobile phones and other portable devices to be used safely in flight without interfering with aircraft systems or the ground communication network.
“Customers wanting to send or receive an SMS will require only a GSM phone and a global roaming account, while customers wanting to send or receive emails will need a GPRS enabled device like a Blackberry or an appropriately equipped laptop,” adds Borghetti.
But at least initially it appears Qantas will not be allowing passengers to make voice calls on their mobiles. “Voice connectivity is a feature of the technology but will not be activated as part of the new service,” the airline says in a press statement.
The AeroMobile communications technology will be installed on Boeing 767-300 and Airbus A330-200 aircraft operated by Qantas on domestic flights in Australia.