The Boeing 777-200LR Worldliner which made a record flight between Hong Kong and London earlier this month was equipped with technology from AeroMobile, a joint venture between Arinc and Telenor, enabling passengers to use cell phones en route.
Transportation communications and systems engineering specialist Arinc opened an office here in Dubai just after the 2003 Dubai air show. The move has proved to be a powerful springboard for securing work throughout the Middle East, since earlier this year the company won a major airport information technology contract for Dubai International Airport.
Middle East air passengers can soon look forward to using their personal cell phones in flight. Mobile phone technology specialist OnAir of Geneva, Switzerland, will begin tests on the commercial use of mobile phones aboard TAP Portugal Airbus A321s later this year. According to OnAir CEO George Cooper, Gulf state airlines will likely be among the first to offer the service.
Widespread testing has proven that new technology allows for in-flight use of cell phones without disrupting terrestrial networks. Now developers face the challenge of winning airworthiness approval for the systems and the licenses to use the relevant frequencies.
Preparing for the day when aircraft passengers are allowed to make cellphone calls in flight, Arinc and Telenor have created AeroMobile, a new service that the companies say will make such calling routine for airline and business aircraft passengers.
AeroMobile, a joint venture of Arinc and Telenor now planning the introduction of cellphone services for the cabin, last month announced that it is taking a “global role” in convincing communications regulatory agencies in the U.S. and Europe to allow the use of personal mobile phones after takeoff.
The six-ton I-4 communications satellite Inmarsat launched in late March has taken over satcom transmission routing responsibility from the previous I-3 satellite covering the Indian Ocean Region, according to Inmarsat officials. While this news might not have much immediate impact on the average satcom user, there will be a notable change once Inmarsat switches on the I-4 satellite’s SwiftBroadband high-speed-data services late next year.
The successful launch of the second Inmarsat-4 communications satellite late last year brings the introduction of SwiftBroadband airborne high-speed-data capability one step closer to reality.
For a long time–too long some say–the industry has been struggling to give passengers on corporate aircraft the same business and entertainment tools at 41,000 feet that they enjoy at home or in their offices. And the truth is it’s going to take a little longer.
The airlines that own Arinc are said to be interested in selling the 77-year-old aviation communications company, and the reasons are purely economic. Arinc posted impressive revenues of $890 million last year, but its owners, including financially troubled Delta and American, are reluctant to make necessary investments in the company.