Emirates Airlines is to introduce in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity on its fleet of Airbus superjumbos. The system, called OnAir, will let passengers stay connected across the carrier’s network, by allowing them to access the internet. The service will also connect to the airline’s in-flight entertainment. Initially OnAir will be installed on 11 of the 19 A380s currently in service.
Emirates has orders with Airbus for 71 of the superjumbos and hopes that the system will eventually be installed on all of the aircraft. As of the middle of 2012, all A380s delivered will come fully equipped with the Wi-Fi service.
The system operates on laptops, smartphones and tablets. The airline said that by following a few simple steps, customers would be linked to the OnAir network. Emirates said that it realised that many of its customers were keen to stay in touch via the net, especially those who have booked tickets on longer journeys.
Other airlines are also keen to offer similar wireless services. Qantas has announced that it is testing a system called Qstreaming on one of its Boeing 767-300s. The idea is to provide wireless entertainment streaming to passengers, but is still to go live.
The Australian flag carrier is working in conjunction with Lufthansa Systems, and has not ruled out the system being made available to customers before the end of the year. According to a spokeswoman for Qantas, passengers will be given an iPad on which they will be able to access more than 200 hours worth of entertainment.