Tuesday, November 04, 2008

MAS to allow cellphone, PDA use in flights

Malaysia Airlines passengers can now use their BlackBerry-type devices and mobile phones on selected flights to send and receive email and text messages, and to make and receive voice calls.

The airline has teamed up with AeroMobile to become the first air carrier in Asia to offer such in-flight mobile phone and data services.

The facility is available immediately on selected flights on MAS’ routes covering Europe, Australia, and across Asia including China and Japan.

Passengers would be able to safely use their mobile phone or personal digital assistant (PDA) during the “cruise” phase of the flight without affecting aircraft systems and ground telecommunication networks.

Users will be billed on their regular phone bills by their own service providers as with any other international roaming call, the airline said.

MAS has conducted trials over the last few weeks on a Boeing 777-200, testing all aspects of the system using standard BlackBerrys and mobile phones, it said in a statement.

The Boeing 777 equipped with the AeroMobile system has received aviation safety approvals (Supplemental Type Certificate) from both the Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

Appropriate approvals have also been granted by the Malaysian authorities to operate the service, MAS said.

The trial is ongoing and if findings are positive, the facility would be offered across the airline’s remaining wide body aircraft by next year, said MAS chief executive officer and managing director Datuk Seri Idris Jala.

“We firmly believe that both our business and leisure passengers will very much welcome this new service,” he said in the statement.

The AeroMobile system supports General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), and uses Inmarsat’s Swift64 satellite system, which has been added to the trial B777 aircraft.

Source : STAR
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