DUBAI, U.A.E., 23rd March 2009 - Cutting-edge communications for Emirates passengers have reached a new milestone with the first birthday of its world-beating in-flight mobile service with AeroMobile.
History was made when the first authorised call on a commercial flight took place on flight EK751, flying from Dubai to Casablanca on March 20th, 2008.
Since then, more than 160,000 passengers from over 130 countries have switched on their mobile phones on an Emirates flight to take advantage of the ability to make and receive calls and text messages – more than 50,000 in the last three months alone as the service becomes more widely available and increasingly popular.
The AeroMobile system, which allows passengers to safely make and receive calls during flights, has now been fitted on a total of 32 Emirates aircraft, making it available on one-in-four of Emirates’ services. Emirates Engineering are installing the AeroMobile system on the rest of the fleet, with one aircraft being equipped every ten days or so.
Patrick Brannelly, Emirates’ Vice President, Passenger Communications and Visual Services, said: “Using this innovative service has now become second nature to our passengers who love the convenience of being able to stay in touch when they choose to.
“It has proved as popular with passengers on all flights to all destinations, not just businessmen and women but also leisure travellers. It’s ideal for just wanting to call home or make contact with family on birthdays or anniversaries.
“Typically about a third of our passengers are switching on their phones onboard AeroMobile-equipped aircraft, so it’s clearly a popular service. We do see many though, that switch on a phone but don’t necessarily use it, showing that they like the idea of being contactable. It’s clear that passengers prefer using their own phones which they are familiar with, rather than the seatback phone.
“The early concerns about potential impact on other passengers have proved, as expected, to be unfounded. We very rarely see multiple calls at the same time, and most calls are shorter than a couple of minutes. Texting using sms has been very popular. The feedback from our customers has been full of enthusiasm.”
The AeroMobile service is being rolled out across the Emirates ' fleet and is currently operating on five aircraft types, the Boeing 777-200s and 777-300s, plus the Airbus A340-300, A340-500 and A330-200. It is due to be installed on the Boeing 777-300ER from May.
AeroMobile CEO Bjorn-Taale Sandberg said: “With our service firmly established on an increasing number of Emirates’ aircraft, the usage level amongst passengers has increased at a faster pace.
“We’re particularly proud of the quality of the voice service and overall reliability. The comment we most often hear is that people receiving calls from our customers in-flight can’t believe they are calling from 35,000 feet.
“We are looking forward to more growth and rising user numbers throughout 2009 to cement a great first year.”
A call for figures (as of 0900hrs Dubai time 20th March, 2009)
• 160,170 passengers have switched on a phone on an Emirates flight
• Passengers from 138 countries have switched on, representing customers of 348 phone companies
• AeroMobile currently has roaming agreements with 123 mobile phone operators from 61 countries
• AeroMobile has operated on over 6,300 flights to 49 countries during the past year
• AeroMobile is installed on 32 aircraft