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July 25, 2011

TAM Airlines Extends On Air GSM and WiFi Services across Entire Long Range Fleet

By Anil Sharma, TMCnet Contributor

TAM Airlines has extended on air GSM and WiFi (News - Alert) services across its entire long range fleet. Thanks to this, the United States and Europe clients will now be able to use their mobile devices aboard the company's entire long haul-fleet, including Boeing (News - Alert) and Airbus aircraft.

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TAM Airlines, including Pantanal, operates direct flights to 45 destinations in Brazil and 19 cities in South America, the United States and Europe. Through agreements with companies in Brazil and abroad, TAM's network encompasses 92 airports in Brazil and a further 92 international destinations, including Asia.

TAM is Brazil’s leading airline, with a market share of 41.7 percent in June 2011, and is also the country's leading player among Brazilian airlines that operate international routes, with 90.6 percent market share in June.

Officials with TAM said that the decision to extend OnAir's services follows nine highly successful months in which passengers have enjoyed the chance to make phone calls, send and receive text messages and emails and have full access to the Internet on selected TAM short-haul flights.Company officials said that OnAir's connectivity services based on Inmarsat’s (News - Alert) SwiftBroadband will be deployed on TAM’s 12 Boeing 777-300ER aircraft (four already in the fleet and eight to be received by 2014), as well as on 10 A330s and 27 A350s (to be delivered between 2014 and 2018). Including 31 short-haul aircraft, out of which four are already in service, a total of 80 aircraft will be equipped with OnAir’s (News - Alert) services over the next coming few years.The long-haul service will be rolled-out from the second half of 2012. Installation of the 31 short-haul planes has already started, with OnAir connectivity gradually coming into service by the beginning of next year.

“Passengers want to stay in touch during flights. We have seen that with the popularity of OnAir’s services on our short-haul aircraft. There is no doubt that inflight connectivity will become ubiquitous and we are determined to lead the way,” said José Zaidan Maluf, TAM’s supply and contracts vice president, in a statement.

Maluf said that that is why TAM will be the first airline in the Americas to provide the full range of passenger connectivity services on their long-haul fleet.

The company is also the first to offer WiFi connectivity on board in South America.Ian Dawkins, CEO of OnAir, said that OnAir services are very flexible, meaning they are the right choice for an airline wanting to equip both long and short range planes, and needing to provide passengers the full suite of connectivity services.

“We also offer a clear and straightforward upgrade path to Global Xpress, Inmarsat’s Ka-band solution,” said Dawkins.He claimed that the company is the only inflight connectivity services provider to have customers on five continents, meaning the company is the only truly global provider.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.


Anil Sharma is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jamie Epstein