New retrofit solution brings OnAir inflight telephony to Boeing aircraft


Geneva (SITA)

- ECS has been selected to develop a solution allowing for quick, easy and cost-effective retrofit installation of Mobile OnAir inflight telephony on Boeing 737 aircraft.

The contract covers all hardware adaptation, engineering development and management of the technical certification and approval process with relevant authorities including the FAA and EASA.

Conceived and designed as an aircraft-neutral system, the first Mobile OnAir implementation was tailored to fit the Airbus A320 family of aircraft. In line with OnAir's roll-out schedule, the solution is now being extended to Boeing 737 aircraft through a retrofit package, enabling airlines to install the Mobile OnAir service quickly and efficiently.

"Our in-depth knowledge of the Mobile OnAir system will help us develop a Boeing retrofit solution that retains as much commonality as possible with the Airbus implementation, to make it very maintenance-friendly for airlines," said Paul Smyczek, President of ECS.

ECS won the contract following an RFP issued by Airbus in a highly competitive bid which included a number of major global players. The US-based company was selected because of its extensive experience developing innovative, cost-effective retrofit packages, its in-house manufacturing capability, its commitment to outstanding quality control, and its proven ability to meet tight timelines. Work will be managed at ECS headquarters in Franklin, Wisconsin, with airlines expected to begin installation of the new retrofit solution from mid 2007.

"OnAir is delighted to be partnering with ECS, an acknowledged market leader in designing and manufacturing certifiable Supplemental Type Certificate solutions," said George Cooper, CEO of OnAir. "With new airline customers for Mobile OnAir now coming onboard fast, an easy-to-implement Boeing retrofit solution will enable airlines with Boeing or mixed fleets to extend this new service to passengers quickly and cost-effectively."

The first large-scale Boeing retrofit will be the installation of the Mobile OnAir system on Ryanair's entire fleet of 250 Boeing aircraft, with Mobile OnAir service expected to be available to Ryanair passengers from mid 2007.

"Our work with OnAir will put us at the leading edge of advanced aviation systems designed to further improve the travel experience for both passengers and airlines," said ECS's Paul Smyczek. "Today's travellers want to stay connected. Based on light, powerful next-generation avionics, OnAir's onboard telephony solution represents a major leap forward in passenger service."

Installation of the retrofit package will be carried out by airlines' own installation teams, or by third party specialist contractors, with ECS providing training and ongoing technical support.

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