INTERIORS: OnAir targets first Global Xpress commitments

Hamburg
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OnAir expects to make its first customer announcements for airlines signing up to Inmarsat Global Xpress services in the next four to six months as it continues to add new customers for its connectivity services.

TAP Portugal is one of the latest to sign up, deploying the company's WiFi service on Airbus A330-operated transatlantic routes. It has also committed to deploy the aircraft on its A350, of which it has a dozen on order.

OnAir provides the WiFi connectivity services through Inmarsat SwiftBroadband and the company's chief commercial officer Stephan Egli says the installed fleet, including 21 Emirates A380s now equipped with the service, demonstrates the bandwidth meets the requirements.

"All the people who said it couldn't be done, the bandwidth isn't large enough, it's all gone quiet," says Egli. Internet OnAir has now been on over 5,000 Emirates A380 flights, initially as a trial before formally launching at the end of 2011, generating data usage per user at slightly below 20MB.

OnAir offers its Wi-Fi product together with its GSM mobile services and now has 45 customers for the products. "It means the snowball effect will continue," says Nagel.

Further down the line OnAir will be a distributor of Inmarsat's new higher speed Ka-band Global Xpress service, which rolls out in 2014."This is a new solution that will be able to supply the future needs. There's a very high level of interest from airlines," he says, adding. "We do expect that we will have the first customer announcements within the next four to six months."