Who is first to offer wifi inflight: PAL or Cebu Pacific?

Aya Lowe
PAL says it already offered phone and wifi services in a Manila-Vancouver flight last July 9, beating Cebu Pacific, which is set to offer the same on its inaugural flight to Dubai in October

INTERNET IN THE AIR PAL will launch internet and phone services on its flights. Photo by Rappler.com

MANILA, Philippines – Fresh from the announcement that legacy carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) could fly to Europe ahead of rival Cebu Pacific, PAL trumpets another first: offering phone and internet services on long haul flights. 

In a statement on Friday, July 12, PAL said it has already made these services available during the Manila-to-Vancouver flight last July 9.

“Allowing our passengers to call and surf the web while flying is another first only a legacy carrier like PAL can offer. This new service is part of our strategy to provide only the best to our customers,” PAL president Ramon Ang stressed.  

It beats Cebu Pacific to the draw. The Gokongwei-led airline also announced that it will start providing wifi service on its flights to the United Arab Emirates.

Its inaugural flight to Dubai starts only in October.

The Gokongwei-led airlined had claimed that it will be the first long-haul low-cost carrier in Southeast Asia that will provide Internet access inflight. 

OnAir partners

Both local carriers have partnered with Zurich-based OnAir, a global inflight connectivity service company, to offer these services

PAL, which is jointly owned by tycoon Lucio Tan’s group and conglomerate San Miguel Corp has also tied up with Munich-based TriaGnoSys. 

Ang said the special connectivity equipment would be fitted into all its Boeing 777 as well as Airbus A330-343 aircraft.

TriaGnoSys managing director Axel Jahn said the GSMConneX platform was designed to host a wide range of software application modules aside from connectivity including entertainment and non-flight-critical cockpit applications.

“PAL is the first GSMConneX commercial airline customer. We designed our hardware and software portfolio to be highly flexible, so we were able to move very quickly to meet the airline’s specific requirements, which in this case included the addition of WiFi capability,” Jahn said.

For Cebu Pacific, The service will be installed by OnAir, relying on the Inmarsat SwiftBroadband technology, plus roaming agreements worldwide.

“Once Internet OnAir is in service, Cebu Pacific passengers will be able to access the Internet during flights and make calls using Voice Over IP applications, using their Wi-Fi enabled personal electronic devices, such as Android phones and tablets, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, and laptops,” the airline had said in a  press release. – Rappler.com

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