Posted on: 28 November 2014 by Ross McSweeny
Air France and Orange Business Services (Orange) are equipping two Airbus A320s with in-flight connectivity for a three month trial phase, with the official launch for the platform due in summer 2015.
Air France Industries is in charge of installing the equipment required for operating and maintaining the in-flight broadband service on the two aircraft. Orange is overseeing the supply of the satellite network, which allows a Wi-Fi connection on-board.
Using this Wi-Fi connection, passengers on the two A320s (which operate on the airline’s short and medium haul networks) can connect to a portal offering both internet and a selection of in-flight entertainment, including live TV, box-sets, films and music as well as practical information such as connecting flight times and services available at their destinations.
A recent study by market and opinion research agency BVA, carried out among over 2,000 Air France passengers, revealed 78% of Air France customers were interested in in-flight connectivity. 28% of these passengers said they were willing to pay for the service if the price was suitable. Air France does plan to charge a fee for in-flight Wi-Fi, with terms and conditions becoming available from Orange in 2015.
“In-flight Wi-Fi is something that everyone is eager to experience and we are very happy to be able to meet their expectations thanks to this project conducted with Air France,” commented Delphine Ernotte Cunci, deputy senior executive at Orange France. “This is a new demonstration of the Orange group's capacity to innovate, which is mobilising all its expertise in the area of networks, content and business.”
Frédéric Gagey, chairman and CEO of Air France, remarked, “Being permanently connected has become an integral part of many of our customer's daily lives, notably for business travellers on our short and medium-haul flights. This innovative project conducted in partnership with Orange intends to meet this high expectation as closely as possible. With this Wi-Fi offer on-board our aircraft, we also wish to remain on the cutting edge of developments in digital technology.”