Satellite communications capabilities on board commercial aircraft have advanced rapidly in recent years with airline passengers using broadband Internet, WiFi, text messaging and mobile phones in flight and now business aircraft users are starting to reap the rewards.
OnAir has signed its first executive contract and will provide its Mobile OnAir package for installation in an Airbus A319 owned by a Middle East customer. Using GPRS and GMS networks, the service will provide full voice and data connectivity, allowing in-flight use of BlackBerry-type devices and personal cellphones.
French cabin products manufacturer Vision Systems Aeronautics (Booth No. 3194) has upgraded its in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems with features like motorized retractable touch screens that can be integrated into the ceiling. The touch screens provide myriad features including video, audio, Internet access, satellite phone, and light and shade controls.
AirCell, the Louisville, Colo. company that pioneered airborne cellular communication technology in the 1990s, has gained patent approval for a new type of communications system that will let passengers use their personal cellphones to place calls in flight over much of the U.S.
After years of development and months of anticipation, Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband satellite aeronautical data service is finally poised for takeoff.
Industry rivals DPI Labs and Airshow have joined forces, at least for the time being, to produce a total cabin avionics system for business aviation travelers who need “uninterrupted access to news and amenities worldwide, including satellite-
direct television, inflight entertainment and cabin management functions.”
Thales Avionics North America announced Tuesday that it has signed a memorandum of understanding to team with Audio International of Little Rock, Ark., in offering a complete cabin management system including inflight entertainment, cabin communications and environmental controls.
Irvine, Calif.-based Intheairnet last month announced it has purchased most of the assets of Passenger Networks, a Santa, Ana, Calif. maker of airborne computer servers, satellite antennas and cabin software applications. Intheairnet, a spin-off of avionics maker Rogerson Kratos formed to develop a line of in-flight entertainment products, is developing digital architecture for broadband and wireless technologies in the passenger compartment.
Flight Display Systems, a leading manufacturer of in-flight entertainment equipment, has unveiled at EBACE the updated version of its 7-inch widescreen LCD monitor, “developed with European dealer concerns in mind.” The FD70CV-M upgrade model has an all-metal housing (replacing the plastic version, which is still being offered). It is 14-percent thinner and 12-percent shorter than its predecessor and has FAA parts manufacturer approval.
Passengers flying on the company jet may soon be allowed to use their personal cellphones to make and receive calls.