flyLAL introduced mobile communication capacities on the aircraft to European airlines

Airline flyLAL shows active interest in possibilities to introduce mobile communication technologies into aircrafts, which would enable provision of mobile communication services during the flights. Together with company flyLAL Technics belonging to the same Group, which carries out technical maintenance not only of Lithuanian but also foreign aircrafts, the national airline flyLAL organised a conference in Vilnius, into which other air companies were also invited. The latest solution in the world enabling use of mobile phones by the passengers onboard was introduced.

The conference was organised jointly with mobile communication service provider on the aircrafts On Air, equipment manufacturer Airbus Kid Systeme and company creating and implementing engineering solutions ECS. In addition to the airline flyLAL, the conference was attended by the representatives of Swiss, German, British, Latvian, Polish, Russian, Finnish air companies.

“Lithuanian company together with the creators and manufacturers of the very latest mobile communication solution that is in the process of introduction in the world yet invited Baltic and Nordic and Eastern European air companies to Vilnius to learn about capacities and modes of installation of the innovative service. Specialists of company flyLAL Technics are of top qualification with sufficient knowledge and capabilities for installation of mobile communication equipment. We are examining such possibilities on our aircrafts now", said CEO of flyLAL Mr. Vytautas Kaikaris.

According to Mr. V.Kaikaris, having installed the state-of-the-art mobile communication equipment on the aircrafts, passengers could talk on mobile phones, send SM and use GPRS data transmission communication. Data from the aircraft would be transmitted to an appropriate mobile communication operator via a satellite. Passengers willing to use mobile communication must have roaming service ordered fro their mobile communication provider.

On Air company providing mobile communication services on the aircrafts has already obtained a permission to provide mobile communication services above the territories of the EU Member States, including Lithuania. On Air should sign agreements with Lithuanian mobile communication operators on provision of services to their customers.

Mobile communication is available on board after the aircraft reaches 3 km height – passengers are informed about availability of mobile communication and data transmission service by special light signs on the plane.
“According to today’s calculations, a call on board could cost from EUR 1.5, SMS – EUR 0.4, 0.5. Prices will depend on Lithuanian mobile communication operators’ pricing. Not only call and SMS services can be provided on board, but also electronic mail, Internet, data transmission, VPN services with the use of portable devices and laptops. According to the data of tests carried out on the aircraft in December, 432 kbps data transfer speed was achieved”, Director of flyLAL Technics Mr. Andrej Belotelov was explaining opening possibilities.

Mobile communication on board is not commercially provided yet in the world. Equipment has been installed and tested on the aircrafts of airlines Air France, Raynair, BMI and TAP, now the companies are waiting for certification confirmation permitting provision of these services to passengers.

“Poll conducted by Air France company revealed an interesting fact – passengers would not like people sitting next to them on the aircraft to talk on mobile phones. Thus, introduction of new capacities causes a lot of discussions, whether mobile communication will be an advantage on the aircrafts, which positive and negative aspects it can bring. We are planning to take the opinion of Lithuanian passengers into consideration as well”, said Head of the air company Mr. Vytautas Kaikaris.

According to him, representatives of air companies from neighbouring states having arrived to the conference held in Vilnius showed in particular great interest in this service. No decisions have been made yet on mobile communication installation on the aircrafts of Lithuanian or neighbouring countries' companies. Head of flyLAL stated that processes of mobile communication equipment installation, testing and certification can take up to one year.

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