OnAir announced this morning at Asian Aerospace in Hong Kong that the in-flight communications services will start to be introduced by Kingfisher in 2008, and that by 2009 passengers will be able to use the Internet while in-flight, as well as send and receive emails and make and receive calls on their own mobile devices.
The services will initially be offered on five Airbus A330s and five Airbus A340-500s. OnAir says the airline plans to eventually have the system on all its long-range aircraft. The carrier also has Airbus A350s and A380s on order.
Kingfisher is the first Indian carrier to sign with OnAir, which is a joint venture between Airbus and SITA. Its services are based on an onboard server connected to ground through Inmarsat’s broadband satellite infrastructure, SwiftBroadband.
OnAir says fees will be based on data downloads for Internet usage and per flight for instant messaging and webmail usage. It adds that for its mobile phone services charges will be similar to international roaming rates and billing will be done through mobile phone service providers.
Kingfisher has been growing rapidly since its launch in 2005. It is not currently allowed to offer international services under Indian Government rules that require at least five years of domestic services first, but it expects the rules to be changed soon to allow it to launch long-haul flights next year.