Airlines across the Middle East remain committed to upgrading passenger services through inflight connectivity solutions
From OnAir’s perspective, the Middle East is certainly living up to its reputation for outstanding customer service and cabin innovation. The company now has no fewer than eight airline customers in the region, with four new deals struck in 2009 and two launches of service -- the region is offering distinctly bright business opportunity in an otherwise challenging economic landscape. Indications are that Middle East passengers value the service highly: a recent survey showed that more than 93% of users on Royal Jordanian flights wanted to have the service available on every flight.
“Airlines here remain committed to improving services for their passengers, while keeping their eye on generating additional revenue and maximizing operational efficiencies. It’s clear in our everyday discussions with them that interest in advanced inflight connectivity services is higher than ever. We have closed five deals in the first months of the year for either regional fleets or long. We expect to be able to announce additional new customers in the region very soon. This region is clearly leading the connectivity market and we are proud to have established outstanding market leadership,” said Benoit Debains, CEO of OnAir.
The connected aircraft – driving revenue and increased efficiency
The connected aircraft is fast becoming a must-have for airlines. As well as providing a platform for new passenger services which generate additional revenue, a broadband IP link-up with the ground improves operational efficiency for airlines themselves through new capabilities like en-route weather updates, telemedicine for more accurate diagnosis of passengers who fall ill during flight, quick-fire ordering new parts and scheduling of maintenance slots before arriving at the airport.
High-volume air traffic plays a central role in fuelling economic expansion in the Middle East and airlines are significant contributors to regional tourism, an important source of jobs, skills and incomes throughout the region. Recent successes of low-cost carriers however underline the need – and the Middle East is no exception – for a sustained focus on cost of operations, and on services that delight passengers while generating additional revenue.
Major investments in fleet and infrastructure reflect confidence in the future
With the region continuing to post robust air-traffic growth, recent investments in Dubai’s airport facilities to keep up with traffic requirements reflect confidence in the future: the completion of Dubai Airport’s Terminal 3 will increase the airport’s capacity from 30 to 70 million passengers a year, while Dubai’s Al Maktoum International Airport project will raise capacity further to a staggering 160 million passengers per year.
Similarly, the Egyptian government has announced it will move ahead with its EGP 6.3 billion (USD 1.13 billion) expansion plans for reconstruction of terminal 2 at Cairo International Airport and construction of three new airports in the country.
Middle East carriers in general have a large order-book for new aircraft to match growing demand around the region. 2009 Paris Air Show announcements underline this buoyancy with Etihad placing engine orders potentially worth $14 billion, and Qatar Airways placing a $1.9 billion order for 24 short to medium range Airbus A320 aircraft.
Most advanced and extensive infrastructure for inflight mobile communications
Mobile OnAir uses the industry’s most advanced and extensive infrastructure for mobile inflight communications, along with Inmarsat SwiftBroadband, high capacity services from Inmarsat 4th generation satellites.
Demand for inflight passenger communications is building rapidly. Passengers can use Mobile OnAir to stay in touch as they fly on over 10,000 flights each month, to over 280 cities in over 70 countries across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. OnAir has operated more than 65,000 fully connected SwiftBroadband flights to date and has signed agreements with more than 15 airlines worldwide. In addition to commercial airlines, OnAir serves corporate jets, private VIP and Governmental customers.
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