Air France first to offer in-flight mobiles


IN early 2007 Air France will be the first airline to take delivery of a new A318 equipped with OnAir, an in-flight system which allows mobile phones to be used on board without disrupting navigation.

During a six-month period from March to September 2007 on services to Europe and North Africa, Air France will carry out trials on this aircraft with passengers, first of all by messaging and emailing only, and then with sound. During this phase, Air France will ask passengers to give their opinion on this facility by means of a questionnaire, which will be given to them during the trip. The findings of this study will decide whether the service will be extended or not to other aircraft in the fleet.
This service will enable passengers to: receive and send calls and SMS on a mobile phone, receive and send emails on a laptop or PDA, access the internet in WAP/imode. Leaflets will be distributed to passengers before the flight (explaining the service, how it functions, tariffs etc.) and flight attendants will make announcements during the flight.
Says Patrick Roux, head of marketing, “Air France has always shared the full benefits of the latest technology with its passengers, while endeavouring to preserve the flight as a haven of peace and well-being.”

Air France has also added one flight per week to its previous schedule offering from Dubai to Paris, making it flights per day, except for one on Saturdays.Passengers now have the choice of alternate solutions and benefit from a day or a night flight. The night flight from Dubai is operated everyday on board Boeing 777-200 seating 270 passengers, including a tri-class service. The day flight is operated six times a week on board the A330-200, including a two-class service.
Since 1996, Air France has increased significantly its offer between UAE and France. Starting from 3 weekly flights, via Kuwait to 13 weekly direct non-stop flights, the seat capacity has been multiplied by 10 in nine years. In 2005, Air France carried 185,000 passengers compared to 19,325 in 1996.