Equipage of Emirates' widebody fleet with Arinc/Telenor joint venture AeroMobile's mobile connectivity service is progressing rapidly, and the carrier has begun marketing the product at certain airport gates.

To date, some 50 aircraft or about 40% of Emirates' fleet have been equipped with the service, which allows passengers to make/receive voice calls and send/receive short messages using their cell phones. Emirates began offering the service in March 2008.

"We've met our business case targets for the first half of the year. Passenger take-up of the product has been going from strength to strength" says AeroMobile chief commercial officer Peter Tuggey.

Emirates recently began gate-marketing the product in Dubai. "The initial results have been very positive in raising demand on the aircraft and making passengers more aware of the solution," says Tuggey, adding: "On a lot of Emirates routes, it's becoming a service that passengers are starting to demand."

Emirates' AeroMobile traffic as a whole indicates that 35% of usage occurs on routes to Europe, 16% to the Middle East, 15% to North Asia, 4% to South Asia, 21% to Africa and 9% on Australasian routes.

"When we look at where the traffic comes from, although we've got a lot of aircraft installed and Emirates moves aircraft around, the results that we have to date are representative of having 40% of the Emirates fleet installed. As we get on some more of their [Boeing] 777s, I think we'll see their traffic levels increase for the USA and Asia as well."

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news