Posted on: 24 July 2011 by Ross McSweeny
TAM Airlines has extended its agreement with in-flight connectivity provider, OnAir, to offer passengers the capability to use mobile devices aboard the carrier’s long-haul flights.The service is expected to be available in the second half of 2012 and follows nine successful months in which passengers have been able to make phone calls, send and receive text messages and emails, and access the Internet onselected TAM short-haul flights. Through the cell phone network, passengers will be able to use their mobile phones, notebooks, tablets and other devices compatible with WiFi access to the internet.OnAir’s connectivity services based on Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband will be deployed on TAM’s 12 Boeing 777-300ER aircraft with four already in the fleet and eight to be received by 2014. The service will also be on 10 A330s and 27 A350swith delivery scheduled between 2014 and 2018. Including 31 short-haul aircraft, out of which four are already in service, a total of 80 aircraft will be equipped with OnAir’s services over the next coming few years.“Passengers want to stay in touch during flights. We have seen that with the popularity of OnAir’s services on our short-haul aircraft. There is no doubt that inflight connectivity will become ubiquitous and we aredetermined to lead the way," declared José Zaidan Maluf, Vice President of TAM’s Supply and Contracts. "That is why TAM will be the first airline in the Americas to provide the full range of passenger connectivityservices on their long-haul fleet.”
TAM also claims it is the first airline to offer WiFi connectivity onboard in South America.“OnAir services are very flexible, meaning they are the right choice for an airline wanting to equip both long and short range planes, and needing to providepassengers the full suite of connectivity services," commented Ian Dawkins, CEO of OnAir.All the relevant telecom regulatory approvals and roaming agreements are already in place. In addition, TAM Airlines has received airworthiness certification from ANAC for the short-haul aircraft and will submit a similarrequest for the long-haul aircraft prior to installing the connectivity system and activating OnAir services.The system was certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in 2009 and is flying with various major airlines. The satellite connectivity to and from the aircraft operated today is provided in partnership with Inmarsat services provider, Arycom.