Emirates Airlines will be the first airline to introduce in-flight mobile phone use with service expected to begin this month, should all the required approvals be received.
The airline invested about $27 million for the new service to be provided by AeroMobile. The AeroMobile system will ensure that mobile phones will operate on their lowest power setting and so be used safely within the aircraft.
With the new system passengers will be able to make and receive calls and text messages in-flight. Also, the airline will use the capabilities of the system to ensure that passengers communicating with mobile phones will do so conveniently and discreetly while preserving the privacy of fellow travelers.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Emirates chairman and chief executive, said, “Our customers are already making more than 6,000 calls a month from our in-seat phones, so we will be making life easier for those for whom staying in touch using their mobile phone has become an indispensable part of their everyday lives. The option of mobile phone use will be available under guidelines that recognize and respect the privacy of all our customers “
Mobile phone use will be available at certain altitudes and the cabin crew will have control of the system, so that calling will not be permitted, for example, at certain times during night flights. Also, passengers will be limited to five or six calls per flight.
The airline and AeroMobile plan to add GPRS data and internet capability to the system as soon as the necessary satellite communications systems are available within 2007. This will allow the use of BlackBerrys, Palm Treos, PDA, as well as laptop access to email and Internet.
Emirates Airlines also announced a new record of net profits amounting to 323 million dollars for the first six months of the financial period 2006 – 2007, marking an increase of 29% in relation to the same time period of the previous year (251 million dollars).