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World's First Wireless Inflight Laptop Service


Emirates To Offer World's First Wireless Inflight Laptop Service

In another inflight communications first, Emirates Airline has announced that soon it will offer its passengers the world's first regular, airborne wireless laptop service, thanks to an agreement signed today with Tenzing Communications of Seattle, Washington, USA.

The Dubai-based international airline will launch the new feature in the first quarter of this year on board all of its new Airbus A340-500s. It will be offered alongside the current seatback e-mail and SMS already available on Emirates' A340-500s, which enable passengers to send out and receive e-mails and SMSs during the flight using an on-screen keyboard.

Emirates is the launch carrier for the new A340-500 aircraft, which started operating on the between Dubai-Sydney-Auckland route on December 3.

The new Emirates product is the world's first deployment of Wi-Fi e-mail laptop connectivity in regularly scheduled commercial aviation.

With the new wireless laptop system, passengers can use their own e-mail accounts, including corporate e-mail, in a secure environment. The ultra-long-range A340-500 will be the first aircraft to include a wireless LAN certified for passengers' own Wi-Fi-enabled laptop computers. Dial-up connections to the onboard server also will be available, from passenger seats.

Maurice Flanagan, Emirates Vice Chairman and Group President said: "The seatback e-mail and SMS products we already provide are very popular with passengers who are not carrying a laptop. The Tenzing service is targeted at those who do, including business travellers who like to keep in touch with their regular e-mail accounts on Wi-Fi."

Passenger laptops will require minimal or no configuration to connect to the Tenzing service. Travellers will be able to choose between hooking up via the RJ11 dial-up method or the simpler 802.11b wireless method. First and Business class passengers also will be able to connect using a standard RJ45 LAN connector.

Mr. Flanagan added: "Ease of connection is of major importance, and the seats have been equipped with multiple options. Long term, wireless is the expected norm, but currently most passenger devices only have the regular plug types."

Every Emirates seat in First and Business Class is also equipped with laptop power, using a regular style US socket so that no special power adapter is required. There are also laptop recharge points in Economy Class.

In-seat satellite telephone also is available to Emirates passengers, with calls costing US$5 per minute to anywhere in the world. The current charge for use of the seatback e-mail and SMS features already being offered on the A340-500 is US$1 per message. Usage fees for the new wireless system will be announced closer to launch date.

Alan McGinnis, CEO of Tenzing said: "We are honoured to be working with Emirates, an innovative airline dedicated to customer service that is at the forefront of inflight communications and entertainment systems."

John Leahy, Chief Commercial Officer of Airbus ? an investor in Tenzing - said: "We're very pleased that Emirates has decided to launch Tenzing inflight e-mail on its aircraft. This is an excellent example of collaboration between leading service providers to offer an all-around exceptional passenger experience. Airbus is proud to be associated with it."

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