"Honey,I'm on the plane" services 

(Shanghai Daily)
Updated: 2007-09-05 11:27


Shenzhen Airlines said on Monday that passengers will soon be able to use their mobile phones and connect to the Internet during flights.

The airline will be the first in China to offer the service, a press conference in Hong Kong was told yesterday.

Swiss technology firm OnAir, which is providing the service, said the move will allow travelers to call and send text messages from their mobile phones and access the Internet on laptops during flights.

Three aircraft from Shenzhen to Beijing and Shanghai will introduce the service ahead of the Beijing Olympics next year.

The OnAir service will be installed across Shenzhen Airlines' full fleet of Boeing 737 and Airbus A320-family aircraft by mid-2009.

"Our goal is to build a world-class airline and we will achieve it through the provision of innovative services such as Mobile OnAir. We are very proud to be the first airline in China to provide passengers with the ability to communicate during flights," Li Kun, president of Shenzhen Airlines, said.

The airline previously provided onboard air-to-ground fixed telephones on some seats at a premium charge.

But it bans the use of mobiles during flights for fear of disrupting aviation signals.

Li said at a speech that China is a significant and fast-growing aviation and mobile phone market, where the number of mobile phone users will reach 500 million by the end of the year.

A survey conducted by OnAir of passengers traveling on business showed up to 40 percent carry a Blackberry-type device and 69 percent would like to use it during flights while 94 percent would like to send or receive e-mails during flights.

Shenzhen Airlines is one of the most competitive and successful airlines in China and operates more than 130 routes within the country and to Korea, Malaysia, Japan and Vietnam. The company carried more than 7 million passengers in 2006.

OnAir has earlier signed deals with other Asian and European airlines that want to introduce the technology, according to Benoit Debains, chief executive officer of OnAir. He didn't elaborate on which airline is or will be the first in the world to provide the service in the air.


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