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People's Daily Online>>China Business

Air China to offer in-flight Wi-Fi

(Beijing News)

14:58, November 15, 2011

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

Beijing, Nov.15 (People's Daily Online) --Air China Ltd., China's largest airline, has become the first in the country to receive approval from the Civil Aviation Administration of China to provide in-flight Wi-Fi service after a successful test flight of the country's first Wi-Fi-enabled aircraft on Nov. 11. The airline disclosed that it will begin offering the service on its Beijing-Chengdu flight on Nov. 15 and then gradually introduce the service to other planes in its fleet.

The airline said that during the test flight, the Wi-Fi network worked well, ensuring that all passengers would have access to the local area network on the plane. The first plane with the in-flight Wi-Fi service will fly from Beijing to Chengdu under the flight number CA1405/1407 on Nov. 15 and then fly back to Beijing under the flight number CA1406/1408. Passengers can use their laptops and tablet computers to access the wireless local area network during flight.

Mobile phones, particularly iPhones, still must be turned off on Wi-Fi-enabled aircraft, even if their SIM card is removed. However, Air China said that it will make efforts to provide land-to-air communications service through the Wi-Fi network in the future, in order to ensure that every passenger can access the Internet during flight.

Air China said that it currently has no plan to charge passengers for Wi-Fi service.

Furthermore, the in-flight Wi-Fi network will not affect flight safety. However, the Wi-Fi service is not available when aircraft is taking off or landing. During normal flight, passengers can connect electronic products, such as computers, to the Wi-Fi network in the cabin rather than the terrestrial network.

It is known that it has become a trend over recent years for foreign airliners to install additional airborne equipment and establish Internet networks within aircraft cabins that are linked with terrestrial networks. Internet access service has been available at about 1,260 U.S. aircraft, about one third of the country's total trunk-line aircraft.

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