Air New Zealand (ANZ) has fitted two new Airbus A320 aircraft with mobile phone and data capability, and could possibly roll out the technology to its remaining A320 deliveries.
The Star Alliance carrier has partnered Vodafone and OnAir to enable the use of mobile phones on board to make phone calls and send and receive text messages and e-mails on the new aircraft.
ANZ received the first of an order of 14 A320s on 1 February, and is set to receive the second at the end of this month. Both are fitted with the capability, and the airline is studying whether to offer this on its remaining deliveries, says an ANZ spokeswoman.
The airline is using the A320s to replace its Boeing 737-300s on domestic routes. ANZ's new A320, in a special all-black livery delivered on 1 February, begins operations on its first commercial flights today.
"This new inflight technology, which uses an aircraft-based cell site and Inmarsat satellites, will mean our customers onboard the new black A320 aircraft will be able to safely use their mobile to stay in touch by text, phone call and email," says ANZ's general manager airline operations David Morgan.
The two aircraft will be equipped with OnAir in-flight passenger communication services, and Vodafone is the network operator for the service, says ANZ.