OnAir is working on a supplementary type certificate for the Dassault Falcon 7X, which will be the first purpose-built business jet to receive the on-board cell phone service specialist’s system. So far, the system had been installed only in “bizliners,” such as Boeing BBJs or Airbus ACJs. OnAir allows passengers to use their phone in flight just as they would on the ground, at affordable cost.
For the passenger, “nothing changes, and that changes everything,” said OnAir’s head of VIP, corporate and governmental aircraft David Bony. This is different from using a satellite telephone, he pointed out. The passenger can also receive calls on his or her personal cell phone while flying and thus can use the contact directory that it contains.
The first Falcon 7X to receive the system will be one operated by Geneva-based Dasnair, the company that manages the Dassault family’s aircraft and offers them for charter. According to Raphael Salamanca, the operator’s head of sales, OnAir’s service will be available in Dasnair’s aircraft from March next year,
Any authorized Falcon service center should be able to retrofit a 7X with the new equipment.
The package, which costs close to $250,000 (not including installation man-hours), has been installed aboard about 15 bizliners. To date, OnAir has 37 customers, of which 20 are currently in service, including 12 airlines.
The passenger pays for the in-flight calls as extra lines on his regular telephone bill. Per-minute cost ranges from $4 to $5.60, Bony said. The system accommodates up to 14 simultaneous calls.