updated 10:05 pm EDT, Wed July 7, 2010
All aircraft to be outfitted by 2012
A Hong Kong-based airline, Cathay Pacific Airways, has announced plans to outfit its fleet with technology to support in-flight calling, Wi-Fi, and live TV. The Wi-Fi service, based on Panasonic Avionics technology, is claimed to provide broadband at speeds of up to 50 Mbps.
Passengers will be able to use their GSM cellphones to make telephone calls during a flight. The system also supports SMS messaging and data services on iPhones or iPads, although the airline suggests that certain content will be restricted.
Live television will be presented directly on seatback displays, which serve as an entertainment portal with additional material such as access to partner sites, online stores, and even pay-per-view videos for special events.
Cathay Pacific promises to equip its full fleet, including Dragonair aircraft, with the Panasonic Avionics systems. The services will be launched sometime early in 2012, pending regulatory approval. [via PCWorld]