Midcoast Aviation in East Cahokia, Ill., is offering customers BlackBerry connectivity. The company, based at St. Louis Downtown Airport, has already installed equipment to allow in-flight BlackBerry use in a Gulfstream IV and two Bombardier Global Expresses.
BlackBerry-starved executives who go into cold sweats anytime they have to shut off their devices take heart. Research In Motion, the Canadian company that makes the ubiquitous e-mail fetcher, has introduced Wi-Fi-capable versions of the BlackBerry that satcom installers say will work on airplanes fitted with high-speed-data terminals and wireless access points.
These are just a few of the prizes being given away in monthly drawings sponsored by aviation services provider Jet Aviation. The West Palm Beach, Fla. company announced the program last month as a means of promoting use of its online pre-arrival system.
European authorities apparently do not share the qualms the Federal Communications Commission and FAA have about the in-flight use of personal cellphones. At the Paris Air Show in June, mobile telephony service provider OnAir announced that the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has certified the airborne GSM equipment that supports OnAir Services for use on the Airbus A318.
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.
An Alerts Manager feature allows the user to send alerts automatically to any Blackberry, mobile phone or e-mail inbox in the world. It is triggered by user-selected specific events such as takeoff, diversion and landing.