Oman in world first after turning on mobile, Internet services

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Oman Air has become the first airline in the world to offer passengers both in-flight mobile and Internet, after switching on Airbus/SITA joint venture OnAir's connectivity solutions on an Airbus A330-300.

Passengers aboard Oman Air's Muscat-London Heathrow service can use their mobile phones at all times other than during take-off and landing. Onboard communications are charged by the home mobile service provider at international roaming rates, says the airline.

Logging onto Oman Air's in-flight Internet service, meanwhile, is akin to using a public Wi-fi hotspot, says Oman Air. The passenger price plan for Internet access on laptops "is expected to be $29.95 for 26MB per flight. Additional usage would be at $0.006 per KB".

"For webmail (body copy only) the rate would be $9.95 per flight and $0.006 for attachments. For webchat, the rate would be $4.95 for unlimited use, per flight," adds the carrier.

In launching in-flight mobile connectivity and Internet service on an A330-300, Oman Air has also become the first commercial widebody operator to enter service with Airbus' ALNA v2 platform over Inmarsat's SwiftBroadband (SBB) aeronautical service, which can support data rates of up to 432 kbps per channel. SBB does not support broadband Internet.

ALNA, which stands for Airline Network Architecture, serves as Airbus' platform for both airborne mobile telephone and Internet services. It is designed on an open architecture that also allows for future integration with other connectivity systems such as Ku-band or terrestrial air-to-ground systems.

All future Oman A330s will be delivered with connectivity.