EMS Technologies will supply broadband satcom system hardware for OnAir’s in-flight cellphone and Internet service through a collaboration with Thales.
The deal could be worth up to $30 million to EMS Satcom over the next five years. The company produces Inmarsat communications terminals, internal cards and antennas.
OnAir plans to install special equipment for its planned service on an Air France Airbus A318 for passenger trials later this year. The concept uses pico-cell technology to route phone calls and SMS messages from passengers’ personal devices through an airplane’s satcom system. Regulatory bodies currently prohibit the use of cellphones after takeoff, but the company is petitioning to have the rules relaxed.
Thales serves as the primary hardware supplier for the program. EMS Satcom’s major contribution will be the internal cards that provide the link to Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband satcom service.