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SitaOnAir celebrates ten years of Mobile OnAir

Posted 18 December 2017 · Add Comment

SitaOnAir is celebrating a decade since the first ever inflight cellular data transmission and the birth of Mobile OnAir.

Since that initial transmission was made onboard an Airbus A318 flight on 17 December 2007, it has been installed in more than 550 aircraft, serving the changing needs of commercial, VIP and governmental flights alike.

Over the past decade, and with support from SitaOnAir’s industry partners, the service has been made available across all aircraft types, from single-aisle to long-range – with more than 20 million passengers connecting for voice, SMS and data transmission in 2017 alone.

Reflecting on that first flight, Veronique Blanc, CTO at SitaOnAir (then OnAir) in 2007, says: “The launch of Mobile OnAir and the first cellular data transmission was very exciting for everyone involved. Back then, even before the widespread use of smartphones, we knew that what we were doing was hugely innovative, and paving the way for the future of inflight connectivity.”

Gregory Ouillon, Chief Technology Officer at Gregory Ouillon, Chief Technology Officer at Gregory Ouillon, Chief Technology Officer at SitaOnAir, says: “It’s remarkable to think that it was just ten years ago that SITAONAIR launched the world’s first inflight mobile service onboard an international flight.

“Ten years is a long time in aviation, however, and the solution now has evolved to become an essential component of the full cabin connectivity experience, allowing passengers to use their mobile phones as they would on the ground.

“One major shift has been the trend towards the convergence of Wi-Fi and cellular technologies, which delivers the best of both worlds. Passenger expectations can be met by offering a hybrid experience that can leverage the advantages of both a Wi-Fi and a cellular connection. Importantly, SitaOnAir is one of the few industry players with the knowledge, assets and skills base to make this convergence happen.” 

From supporting this burgeoning IoT movement, to the introduction of wider cellular trends like ‘Roam Like at Home’ to the air, our new infographic examines the future of Mobile OnAir and inflight passenger communication, as SitaOnAir and its partners see it.

Frederik van Essen, Inmarsat Aviation Senior Vice President says: “Passenger expectations around inflight connectivity have dramatically evolved over the past decade. Inmarsat worked shoulder-to-shoulder with SitaOnAir ten years ago to pioneer the first ever inflight mobile phone call and data connectivity on an international flight.

“Today, we are together introducing unprecedented new capacities with GX Aviation, ensuring that airline passengers can browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights, with an onboard connectivity experience comparable to the mobile broadband services they may receive on the ground.”

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