Oman Air, the national carrier of the Sultanate of Oman, has announced major growth in uptake by passengers of its inflight mobile phone and wi-fi connectivity.
Between January 2012 and January 2013, the airline experienced a 130 per cent increase in internet package sales and a 180 percent increase in connectivity revenues. Mobile phone connectivity is charged at roaming rates by individual service providers.
Oman Air's Muscat to London Heathrow service saw the greatest use of inflight connectivity and the most popular method of accessing the internet was via smart phones, indicating that most users relied on the connectivity service for leisure, rather than work, purposes.
Oman Air's Chief Executive Officer, Wayne Pearce welcomed the figures, saying: "Oman Air was the first airline in the world to offer both mobile phone and wi-fi connectivity inflight and I am delighted that our customers value this service so much. The increase in passengers' use of the service in 2012 underlines their growing expectation that similar levels of connectivity should be available in the air as they are on the ground. I am pleased that the continued increase in uptake since we introduced the service in 2010 shows that Oman Air still leads the field in this area."
Oman Air's inflight wi-fi connectivity is available in a range of packages, designed to suit customers' differing requirements. Vouchers can be purchased for use with smart phones and tablets (excluding iPads) aboard the airline's Airbus A330 long haul fleet at the rate of US$5 for up to 3MB of data or US$15 for up to 10MB of data. Vouchers for iPad and laptop connectivity can be purchased for US$15 for up to 10MB of data and US$30 for up to 25MB. Usage beyond these data allowances is charged per MB.
Coverage is available throughout Oman Air's range of long haul services, except when flying over countries such as India, which prohibit onboard mobile phone and wi-fi communications. However, the airline's Muscat to Bangkok services, which overfly India, report the second highest rate of uptake, after Muscat to London.
Wayne Pearce concluded:
"Digital communications are playing an increasingly important role in all our lives and, in addition to onboard connectivity and services such as online booking and web check-in, Oman Air is rapidly expanding its online customer engagement. Our social media presence is growing daily and we are offering many more online-only special offers than ever before.
"Having pioneered onboard connectivity, we are committed to remaining in the vanguard of 21st Century communications."