Emirates is working with Boeing to ensure AeroMobile's in-flight mobile phone connectivity solution is line-fitted to its new widebodies as soon as possible.

Last year Boeing suspended linefit of cabin connectivity systems as a precautionary measure after Honeywell Phase 3 Display Units (DUs) proved susceptible to "blanking" during airline electro magnetic interference (EMI) certification testing of Aircell's Gogo wireless broadband system (Wi-Fi) on various Boeing 737NG airplanes as part of the retrofit process.

Since that time, the US airframer has been conducting a broad avionics review to ensure no other products are susceptible to interference. And a service bulletin is expected to be released to address the Honeywell issue, says a source.

But that effectively means that some AeroMobile customers are not receiving widebodies linefit with connectivity, as they had anticipated.

Speaking to ATI and Flightglobal, Emirates vice-president, corporate communications, product, publishing, digital & events Patrick Brannelly said: "We had two or three aircraft delivered [by Boeing] with partial provisions [for connectivity]. Our Airbus A380s start coming next year with [OnAir mobile connectivity] fitted out at the factory, around the middle of 2012. We'd hope to have Boeing come off the line with [connectivity] fitted long before then."

He adds: "Our teams are working with Boeing to make that happen as quickly as possible."

Flightglobal's ACAS database shows that Emirates holds orders with Boeing for 48 777-300ERs.

To date, the carrier has had AeroMobile's solution installed on 86 aircraft in its fleet, said Brannelly. "We have retrofitted all of those aircraft."

Emirates recently extended its commitment to deploy the solution, branded by AeroMobile partner Panasonic Avionics as eXPhone, on its Boeing 777-300ERs and 777-200LRs.

Meanwhile, sources say that Emirates is quietly testing OnAir's in-flight Wi-Fi solution on A380s as it readies for formal roll out on the ultra-widebodies.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news