SITA will launch its in-flight satellite-delivered live news service into commercial operations with Singapore Airlines (SIA) on 1 June after a trial on 17 May. The live news service was developed for the Asian flag carrier as part of SITA's contract to supply the airline's in-flight voice and data satellite communication services.


News is updated hourly during the flight via the Inmarsat satellites and SITA's ground earth stations. Honeywell is the news aggregator, providing the content for SIA. In-flight entertainment (IFE) system provider Matsushita has overseen onboard integration.

SIA previously offered BT's satellite-updated news service, but SITA began developing its own offering earlier this year after winning SIA's in-flight satellite communications contract from BT. SITA expects to find customers in Asia and Europe.

Meanwhile, next year SITA aims to introduce GSM/cellular charging, whereby passengers using in-flight telephones can be charged on their cellular accounts. Ground-to-air calling will also be possible. Despite the focus on e-mail, SITA does not see in-flight telephony as dead. "Airlines are still interested in putting it on board. As we move to GSM charging we'll see additional use," says Elizabeth Young, director of SITA's passenger communications services.

SITA continues to test in-flight credit card validation, which has applications for duty-free sales and IFE payments, with Inflight ATI.

Source: Flight International