Emirates Airlines bringing Internet and mobile phone calls to entire A380 fleet by 2012

Emirates, the world’s largest customer of the Airbus A380 just announced that its entire fleet of super jumbos will be outfitted with in-flight Internet and mobile phone technology by 2012. The service is provided by Swiss firm OnAir, and will offer voice calls, data and text messaging on its entire route network using Inmarsat SwiftBroadband satellites.

According to Emirates, the technology has been fully certified by the aircraft manufacturer. The CEO of OnAir said: “There is no question about it being safe.” And to be honest, I trust them 100% – because OnAir is a joint venture of aviation IT firm SITA and Airbus, the company that builds the A380, so they do know a thing or two about their own planes.

The timing is great, as our very own Heather Poole explained in a Galley Gossip article why she demands mobile phones be turned off – it is the law, and she enforces it. Of course, once the airlines start finding ways to make money off in-flight calls, the dangers of mobile phone usage will quickly be forgotten. Obviously, the new technology still won’t allow for calls during the takeoff and landing stage of a flight, just to be on the safe side (and prevent phones from becoming projectiles).

The first Emirates A380 with OnAir service will be ready by June 2012, so one can only hope that passengers learn some basic in-flight phone call etiquette by then.

[Photo credit: RAVEENDRAN/AFP/Getty Images]

Airbus reducing deliveries of A380 ‘super jumbo’

With the global economy what it is, it’s probably not that surprising to read reports that Airbus is busy reducing deliveries of its much-vaunted A380 jumbo jet, the world’s largest aircraft.

The company announced recently that it would only deliver 14 of the double-decker A380s this year, down from 18, and 20 next year, down from 45.

The 525-seat plane has a list cost of $237 million, according to the New York Times.

Not that many airlines are flying the A380; so far, just Emirates, Singapore and Qantas have incorporated the model into their fleets.

Qantas is one of the airlines that has said it would be deferring deliveries of future A380s because it doesn’t have the money to pay for them. Airbus is not naming other specific airlines, but China Southern, Air France-KLM and India’s Kingfisher have also said they’d be postponing delivery of the aircraft.