Brazil's TAM expects to finally begin trialling OnAir's in-flight mobile connectivity service in the third quarter of this year.
TAM signed up as OnAir's Latin American launch customer in 2008 and was originally planning to introduce the service in mid-2009. The introduction has since been repeatedly delayed pending regulatory approvals.
TAM marketing director Manoela Amaro says the carrier expects the service can finally be turned on in July. She says the regulatory challenges have been solved and the next four A320 family aircraft to be delivered by Airbus will arrive in Brazil with the OnAir equipment installed.
Amaro says TAM plans to trial the service on four aircraft for three months. "The idea is to test it and then make a decision for the entire fleet," she told ATI during an event celebrating TAM formally joining the Star Alliance.
She adds TAM plans to decide on fleet-wide implementation by the end of this year.
TAM in the meantime is working with several Brazilian telecom providers on a pricing plan for the new in-flight mobile service. Amaro says TAM and OnAir needed to secure approval from ANAC and Anatel (National Agency of Communications), a process which took significantly longer than initially expected.