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Travel: Mas Partners AeroMobile For Asia's First Inflight Mobile Phone Service

  • Inflight mobile connectivity being used in the Malaysia Airlines B777-200 aircraft. (Photo courtesy: Mas)
  • Inflight mobile connectivity being used in the Malaysia Airlines B777-200 aircraft. (Photo courtesy: Mas)

Malaysia Airlines has scored another first by teaming with AeroMobile, the world’s leading in-flight mobile phone operator, to become the first air carrier in Asia to offer in-flight mobile phone and data services.

The introduction of this innovation allows passengers on Malaysia Airlines’ flights to safely use their own BlackBerry®-type devices and mobile phones to send/ receive emails and text messages, and to make and receive voice calls.

The lightweight system was installed on a Boeing 777-200 aircraft of the Malaysian national carrier which will serve flights of its network covering selected European routes, Australia, and across the Asian region including China and Japan. The facility has been extensively trialed on the aircraft over the last few weeks, testing all aspects of the system in-flight using standard BlackBerrys and mobile phones prior to being launched now for full passenger use.

With the availability of this inflight facility, customers can now safely use their mobile phone or Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) during the ‘cruise’ phase of flight without affecting the aircraft systems and ground telecommunication networks.

"Users will be billed on their regular phone bills by their own service providers as with any other international roaming call."

AeroMobile supports the General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) mobile data to support BlackBerry and other ‘push email’ services including email attachments, as well as voice calls and sms text messages. The GPRS data feature exploits AeroMobile’s unique capability to operate BlackBerry and other email services using Inmarsat’s Swift64 satellite system, which has been added to the trial B777 aircraft.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft was equipped with the AeroMobile system during a routine maintenance check, and has received aviation safety approvals (‘Supplemental Type Certificate’) from both the Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Appropriate approvals have also been granted by the Malaysian authorities to operate the service.

Malaysia Airlines Managing Director/CEO Dato Seri Idris Jala said, “When we launched our Business Transformation Plan this year, we gave an assurance that our Customer Value Proposition delivery through the Malaysian Hospitality way will further enhance hassle free travel for our passengers.

“This is one of the inflight service comforts that we are introducing on a trial basis for our customers as a Five Star Value Carrier. The trial will be conducted for a period of time and if the evaluation findings are positive, we aim to have this facility fully operational in the remaining wide body aircraft of our fleet by next year. With this facility, we definitely have a competitive edge and firmly believe that both our business and leisure passengers will very much welcome this new service,” he added.

Bjorn-Taale Sandberg, Chief Executive Officer of AeroMobile, said: “AeroMobile welcomes Malaysia Airlines as the first Asian airline customer to allow its passengers the choice to stay in touch when they fly. Malaysia Airlines has been able to benefit directly from AeroMobile’s unrivalled experience in many areas, such as aircraft certification and service operation.

“AeroMobile’s solution for Malaysia Airlines reflects the advances that we have made since launching the AeroMobile service in April 2007, in particular our ability to offer fully approved installations on both the Boeing and Airbus wide-body aircraft while supporting full GPRS data services as well as voice and text messaging services,” he added.

Users will be billed on their regular phone bills by their own service providers as with any other international roaming call. AeroMobile is working with Malaysia’s mobile phone operators and their customers will be able to use the AeroMobile service if they travel on the equipped aircraft. The system will be available on a number of Malaysian Airlines’ regional and long haul routes including flights to Africa, Japan, Australia and the Middle East.

The cabin crew of the national carrier are also being trained to guide and clarify to passengers on the need to be mindful of other passengers preferences at certain times, such as during night flights. Passengers will be encouraged to switch their phones to silent or vibrate mode when used in the aircraft.

MySinchew 2008.11.04



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