Feature Article

April 11, 2014

Sri Lankan Airlines Brings Mobile and Wi-Fi Access On Board

One of the most inconvenient parts of flying is that when you're up in the air you are essentially cut off from the world below. Internet is off-limits, cell-phones are off-limits. If you are on a flight for the long haul, it can be boring without the connectivity that you are used to, and it can stand in the way of you being in contact with those that you may need to be in touch with. This inconvenience is slowly becoming a thing of the past though.

OnAir for example, is allowing airline carriers to install a service that provides passengers the ability to connect to the internet, or even use their phones. Major airlines across the globe have been signing up for OnAir, and now passengers of SriLankan Airlines are also going to be able to talk, text or tweet among the clouds.

SriLankan Airlines announced they signed on with OnAir, bringing in-flight mobile phone and WiFi services to their passengers. The service will be installed on six new A330-200 planes that the airline is bringing into its fleet. Implementation of this new service for SriLankan Airlines customers is expected to be complete by this upcoming Fall. Customers will be able to use OnAir’s services on international flights coming out of Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo.

“We take pride in providing our passengers with a luxurious and innovative experience, so connectivity is a must for our new aircraft,” said Kapila Chandrasena, CEO of SriLankan Airlines. “Providing Wi-Fi and GSM access is the norm for leading airlines. Our aim is to offer an outstanding service to our passengers.  We selected OnAir because it is the only inflight connectivity provider of consistent coverage on all the routes we fly.”

SriLankan Airlines will also be joining 30 other carriers who have already signed up with OnAir. Many of these carriers are centered in Asia, and the Middle East. Included in their list of customer airlines are British Airways, Aeroflot, and EgyptAir.

OnAir’s service uses satellites to send calls and WiFi from the airplane back down to Earth. The satellite network is provided by their technology partner, Inmarsat’s, Swiftbroadband service. Inmarsat owns a global network of satellites that provide mobile satellite communication services across several sectors.

OnAir has also built a strong list of mobile network operators that use GSM, which will allow people to connect through their personal phone services. Among the 375 companies signed up with OnAir is T-Mobile. This will expand their service to many who are flying that will be able to connect using their own network, or accept roaming rates with a different carrier if their own is not available. 




Edited by Stefania Viscusi


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