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Air China to test in-flight Wi-Fi

By Yang Jian (Shanghai Daily)

10:20, July 04, 2013

Air China, the country's flagship carrier, is to provide in-flight Wi-Fi service on all its Airbus 330 planes this year and it began to test the Wi-Fi system on July 3, 2013.

Passengers will be allowed to use their wireless devices when their plane is in the air, the airline said.

Air China has begun beaming Wi-Fi signals on its Boeing 737-800 planes on its Beijing-Chengdu route. "Access is free but Internet browsing is limited to certain entertainment and tourism sites for online shopping, room reservation, and car rental booking," said Bao Lida, a spokesman for the Southwest Branch of Air China.

Many foreign airlines, including Emirates, Delta and Virgin Atlantic, have introduced paid Wi-Fi services based on Boeing's Connexion system. The service costs about US$5 per hour.

The China-made C919 jumbo jet will also provide phone and Wi-Fi services when it makes a maiden flight in 2014 and enters service a year later, said Dang Yabin, a specialist at Shanghai Aircraft Design and Research Institute.

Domestic flight passengers will be able to surf on the Internet, make phone calls and watch real-time television in the air by 2016. Chinese carriers will start installing satellite communication equipment on all passenger aircraft next year, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said.

China has 1,810 passenger aircraft, including 838 from Boeing and 758 from Airbus.

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