Etihad outfits A320s with OnAir wi-fi and GSM

Los Angeles
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Etihad is the first airline to fully connect an Airbus A320 with both OnAir wi-fi and GSM mobile phone service, says Geneva-based connectivity provider OnAir at the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) expo in Anaheim.

OnAir says that it delivered the aircraft to the Abu Dhabi-based carrier last month.

Etihad first started providing the internet and mobile services on its Airbus A330-300 widebody aircraft nearly two years ago, and the A320 is the first single-aisle aircraft in its fleet to receive full connectivity. All of the carrier's new A320 deliveries will receive the connectivity, which is based on the Airbus ALNA v2 platform.

"Passengers want the same ability to connect onboard as they have on the ground," says OnAir's chief executive Ian Dawkins. "OnAir's connectivity replicates the everyday terrestrial experience as closely as possible on any flight, anywhere in the world."

Etihad has pending orders for six Airbus A320-200s and 10 A321-200s, Flightglobal's Ascend Online database shows.

GSM has been the more popular option for users on Etihad's A330s, says OnAir. Seventy-six percent of the passengers use the mobile connectivity for e-mail and data, 33% use it to send text messages and 21% use the service to make and receive voice calls.