Posted by Rabih SerraiTuesday, 19 January 2010 11:42
Oman Air, the national carrier of the Sultanate of Oman, becomes the first airline in the world to offer the full connectivity suite (Mobile OnAir and Internet OnAir) on its commercial widebody aircraft when it starts to unroll full mobile phone and wi-fi connectivity across its brand new Airbus A330 fleet by the middle of February.
The move will give passengers in First, Business and Economy classes the opportunity to make and receive mobile phone calls, SMS, use email and the internet and keep up to date with social networking media, such as Facebook and Twitter.
Launching the new service, Oman Air’s Chief Executive Officer, Peter Hill, says: “We are delighted to be leading the field by bringing the digital age to in-flight passenger communications. From mid-February we will be unrolling full connectivity across our Airbus A330 fleet, completing the task in the summer. This great new service will enrich the passenger experience and complement the stunning new interiors we are offering in all three classes of travel.
“For many travellers, the ability to communicate via phone, SMS, email or internet is a vital part of everyday life and staying in contact with friends, family or colleagues will constitute huge benefits for Oman Air’s customers. People are increasingly expecting internet and mobile connectivity “anywhere, anytime” and what better place is there than on an Oman Air A330, when you have a few quiet hours to catch up on your email, browse the internet or return that quick phone call.”
Availability of the service will be controlled by the crew to ensure a minimum of disturbance to passengers during, for example, the quietest periods of overnight flights.
Oman Air’s A330 fleet has been fitted with the Airbus ALNA V2 system, using Honeywell’s SwiftBroadband (SBB) solution. This supports both mobile phone and internet in-flight communication, ensuring that whatever devices passengers choose to use, they will receive a swift and effective service.
Peter Hill continues: “In today’s wired world, the distinction between phones and computers has been greyed and many devices perform more than one function. iPhones, Blackberries and a host of other devices require both phone and internet connectivity and our SBB platform offers just that. Oman Air’s new A330s have already been described by independent commentators as the most highly connected commercial widebody currently flying and we will continue to seek out new opportunities to offer our customers the very latest technology.”
Oman Air’s SBB connectivity follows the introduction to its A330 fleet of new in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems which offer four channels of live TV, as well as audio video on demand, iPod connection and USB ports for different usage. The IFE systems are installed within superb new First, Business and Economy class cabins, each of which offers new levels of comfort, space and luxury.
With six mini-suites - each offering a lie-flat bed, a 23-inch monitor and direct aisle access – together with an elegant and relaxing lounge area, Oman Air’s First Class experience evokes that of exclusive private jet travel. Oman Air’s Business Class cabin offers 20 seats, each with aisle access, a lie-flat bed and a 17-inch screen, whilst Economy Class seats offer fully adjustable head and leg rests, surprising amounts of leg and elbow room and individual, seatback-mounted video monitors.
In addition, delicious new menus have been created and stylish new Balenciaga-designed staff uniforms have been introduced.
Peter Hill concludes: “The introduction of our new in-flight connectivity service is the latest step in a transformation of Oman Air that has recently seen us introduce new aircraft, new interiors, new in-flight service and facilities, new routes and a new three-class service between Muscat and London Heathrow. We have now become a significant international player with a growing fleet of state-of-the-art aircraft and a growing network of exciting routes and destinations. We look forward to continuing our transformation, offering all our passengers the very best products, service and value as well as being the airline of choice for travellers to Oman, the Middle East and beyond.”
Oman Air is the flag carrier of the Sultanate of Oman. Founded in 1993, the airline has since witnessed massive growth and has played a major role in making Muscat an important traffic hub in the Middle East, supporting the commercial, industrial and tourism sectors.
The airline currently operates direct international flights from Muscat to major Gulf destinations, such as Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Kuwait and Riyadh. In addition, Oman Air flies to ten destinations in India – Mumbai, Chennai, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Hyderabad, Delhi, Lucknow, Bangalore, Kozhikode and Jaipur; to Chittagong in Bangladesh and Karachi in Pakistan, Cairo, Beirut and Amman, Jordan, besides London and Bangkok. In September 2009, Oman Air commenced four weekly flights to Frankfurt, followed by three weekly flights from Muscat to Munich. From October 2009, Oman Air began operating four weekly flights from Muscat to Paris, Charles de Gaulle and four flights a week from Muscat to the Maldives. Four flights a week from Muscat to Sri Lanka were launched in November 2009.
Oman Air’s fleet consists of Boeing 737-800 and Airbus A330s. At the end of 2009, the fleet strength was 15 B737-800s, two A330-200s and two A330-300s. During 2010/2011, three additional A330-300s will be delivered. As part of its continuing expansion plan, Oman Air has ordered six Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which are scheduled for delivery in 2014.
Global Arab Network