Onboard cellphone service provider OnAir has come to an agreement for German bizjet maintenance and modification provider Aviation Centre Cologne (ACC) to install the necessary equipment on the aircraft of customers requesting the capability.

Airbus/SITA-owned OnAir uses a combination of an onboard miniature cellular base station and Inmarsat SwiftBroadband satcoms to support safe, high-quality air-to-ground voice and data communications via passenger mobile phones and Blackberrys. Its system is being trialled by airlines Air France and TAP Portugal and is the subject of another business aircraft installation agreement, with Jet Aviation Basel of Switzerland.

ACC, which has centres at Cologne Airport and in Luxembourg, is one of Europe’s leading providers of maintenance and modification services for business jets, specialising in the Bombardier Challenger family. The OnAir option will be available to ACC customers from early next year.


Business jet passengers can use their own familiar phones and other devices to call via OnAir and are billed by their usual mobile service providers. This also benefits aircraft operators, particularly in the fractional ownership market, by relieving them of the need to invoice customers separately for their onboard communications.

Ryanair, bmi and Shenzhen Airlines are due soon to follow Air France and TAP in launching OnAir trials. Other airlines that have agreements with OnAir are AirAsia, AirAsiaX, Jazeera Airlines, Kingfisher Airlines, Oman Air and Royal Jordanian.

Source: Flight International