Qantas Offers Satellite-Based In-Flight SMS
Australian airline Qantas [ASX: QAN] said Friday it is offering passengers unlimited use of its new Qantas Short Message Service (SMS) system for a month. The new system allows passengers to send messages using in-seat telephone handsets, and also to receive replies–a service that Qantas says is the world’s first. The system uses aircraft cabin telephony, in-flight entertainment and satellite infrastructure to generate messages via satellites to and from ground stations and the relevant telecommunications networks.
Qantas over the past two years worked with Rockwell Collins Passenger Systems, MORS Technologies, and telecommunications company SITA to establish the service and to modify the existing onboard telephone system.
Qantas and SITA are offering the service free of charge to Qantas customers until Oct. 31. From Nov. 1, the cost of sending and receiving a message is US $1.90. Qantas expects that SMS will be introduced on U.S. flights by the spring of 2004.