Air New Zealand’s recently delivered All Black A320 is set to give passengers the ability to use their mobile phones inflight, with the announcement of a partnership between Vodafone and communications provider OnAir.
Starting next month, Air New Zealand’s All Black A320 will be the country’s first domestic aircraft to allow passengers to make and receive phone calls, text messages and emails during the cruise stage of flights. Air New Zealand will use an inflight mobile technology system developed by OnAir that enables the safe use of mobile phones by routing phone signals through an onboard cell on the aircraft. As part of the deal, OnAir will also provide a GSM/data service.
Air New Zealand general manager airline operations captain David Morgan said the new technology met customer demands to enable phone communications while they were in the air. “Feedback from our customers shows they value being able to stay in touch with work colleagues, friends and family while they are in the air,” Morgan said.
“This new inflight technology, which uses an aircraft-based cell site and Inmarsat satellites, will mean our customers onboard the new black A320 aircraft will be able to safely use their mobile to stay in touch by text, phone call and email.”
As the service network operator, Vodafone will charge inflight roaming costs at 80c per outbound text, NZ$3.50/min to make a call, NZ$2/min to receive a call and NZ$20 per megabyte of data.