GENEVA, December 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Ahead of today's FCC meeting, OnAir supports the FCC's proposal to revise outdated rules by allowing airlines to permit passenger use of cell phones services during flights. It paves the way for U.S. passengers to have the same inflight connectivity choices as passengers everywhere else in the world.
"Over four and a half million passengers use OnAir inflight connectivity each year and what is very striking is that there has not been one single complaint about disruption caused by phone calls," said Ian Dawkins, CEO of OnAir. "Mobile OnAir is available on every continent apart from North America. People from all over the world, including Americans, use it every day."
Passengers typically use Mobile OnAir, OnAir's inflight cell phone service, for data - largely email - to update Facebook and Twitter, and for text messaging. Voice calls, which cost around $3-$4 per minute, account for slightly over 10% of total inflight usage and the average call length is under two minutes.
"Based on the factual evidence of six years of inflight cell phone usage around the world, I can be absolutely clear that there is nothing to fear from the use of cell phones during flights," said Dawkins.
Mobile OnAir has flown with more than 25 airlines on hundreds of thousands of flights across the world since 2007, with the full backing of over 100 national authorities.
OnAir's airline customers include world-leading global airlines such as Aeroflot, British Airways, Emirates, Philippine Airlines, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines. Mobile OnAir is currently on around 16,000 flights a month and 380,000 passengers connect to OnAir each month.
"Since the FCC first announced its plan to change the rules, lots of people in the US have made it clear they think voice calls shouldn't be allowed on aircraft, including some politicians seeking to impose a draconian ban on inflight calls. We will of course oppose such legislation, based on the facts of six years' experience," continued Dawkins. "However, we do understand the concerns: we had exactly the same thoughts when we began developing the service ten years ago. That is why we included a feature that allows the cabin crew and pilots to turn off the voice element, for example during quiet times such as the plane's night or during safety announcements."
Positive action by the FCC would clear the technical telecoms hurdles to give airlines the option of installing cellular inflight connectivity systems. Airlines would decide whether to offer voice services, along with email, data, and text; they are in control of what services they offer their passengers. For the first time, U.S. airlines would be able to offer cellular services, as their international competitors have been doing for six years.
OnAir sets the benchmark for global inflight connectivity solutions, with over 60 customers on five continents. We are the only provider to offer consistent global coverage, specifically designed for mobility, for both inflight cellular and Wi-Fi services, thanks to regulatory approvals from over 100 countries and more than 350 roaming agreements.
OnAir's products enable passengers to use their own mobile phones, smartphones, tablets and laptops in exactly the same way as they do on the ground, either through the onboard cellular network or the onboard Wi-Fi hotspot. OnAir also provides on-demand entertainment content, such as music, videos, newspapers and magazines. The products are available as linefit or retrofit for all commercial aircraft, as well as government, VIP and business jets. OnAir products operate over all satellite links.
OnAir was incorporated in February 2005 and is owned by SITA, the leading IT solutions provider to the air transport world. OnAir is a member of the GSM Association and an Inmarsat Distribution Partner for both SBB and GX Aviation services.
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