Aeroflot to allow fliers to make calls, send texts, expand Wi-Fi by 2014

Aeroflot hopes to lure more long-haul passengers aboard by offering in-flight Wi-Fi and permitting mobile phone use.

As demand for in-flight entertainment increases, Aeroflot plans to boost its offerings within the next few years.

According to The Moscow News, the Russian airline has started expanding in-flight Wi-Fi across long haul flights on its Airbus A330 and Boeing 777 fleet.

Among Aeroflot's 22 A330s, 11 currently have Wi-Fi installations, and another four are planned by the end of 2013. The airline also wishes to increase its 777 fleet from four to 20 by the end of 2016, of which the model already comes equipped with Internet access.

An Aeroflot spokesperson said:

"Demand for wi-fi is higher specifically on long flights as much by virtue of the length of the flight (the Internet is needed both for entertainment, to make the time pass more quickly, and for business), as by virtue of the capacity of the craft. You can hardly dispute that there are more potential users among 200 passengers than there are among 100."

In a July report on American service by airline search website Routehappy, 38 percent of domestic U.S. flights provide wireless Internet, and an additional 9 percent planning to introduce it in the next 18 to 24 months.

Other airlines, including Japan Airlines, AirFrance and United also offer Wi-Fi on some their flights.

This is only the first stage for Aerofloat, which also wants to introduce GSM-based text and calls on board by 2014.

A spokesperson for Aeroflot's service provider, Swiss-based OnAir, told the publication:

"While it is still early days for the in-flight connectivity market, growth has been driven by the airlines that provide the most innovative passenger services. For that reason, many Middle East airlines were early adopters. Having said that, as in-flight connectivity becomes a must-have, we are now seeing demand growing across the world."

Via: The Moscow News

Image credit: Aeroflot

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