Philippine Airlines to install connectivity on 27 aircraft

Philippine Airlines (PAL) has become an Inmarsat SwiftBroadband connectivity customer through a contract with OnAir.

PAL is the first airline from the Philippines to offer its passengers both GSM telephony and Wi-Fi internet access.

It will give passengers the choice to call, text, tweet, email and surf the internet as they fly across Philippine Airlines' extensive network in Asia Pacific, Australasia and the US.

Expanding fleet
PAL is expanding fast, growing its route network, as well as building up and renewing its fleet.

A major pillar of its state-of-the-art passenger experience is in-flight connectivity.

After a market evaluation, PAL selected OnAir's joint GSM and Wi-Fi service via Inmarsat's SwiftBroadband.

In touch
“As a leading airline, it's clear we must enable our passengers to remain in touch during flights,” said Ramon Ang, President of Philippine Airlines.

“It is an absolute requirement for today's travellers in providing the very best service.”

“The two most important criteria to us and for our passengers are to have a service that is global and of high quality wherever we fly, and a flexibility to suit the needs of all passengers.”

Retrofit installation
Mobile OnAir and Internet OnAir will be retrofitted on Philippine Airlines' Airbus A330-343 and Boeing B777-300ERs, starting in May 2013.

The global GSM and Wi-Fi service is expected to be launched from mid-year.

Ian Dawkins, OnAir chief executive, said: “Passengers use of the in-flight GSM and Wi-Fi networks mirrors behaviour on the ground, which is why having both is so important.

Phone or tablet
“When both GSM and Wi-Fi are available, more than 80 per cent of passengers use GSM.

“They simply turn on their phone or tablet and use it for calls, text messages, emails, updating Facebook and Twitter, as well as the internet.

“There is no need to enter their credit card details because the costs are included in their mobile phone bill, as with international roaming.

Internet usage
“People typically use the Wi-Fi for business. It is more suitable for heavier email and internet usage. We give passengers the choice.”
Inmarsat's SwiftBroadband network is the only one designed specifically to provide worldwide coverage via its I-4 satellites.