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Mon 22 Sep 2008 12:29 PM

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High-tech

As the global demand for technology continues, airlines are keeping pace with a vast array of new in-flight services.

As the global demand for technology continues, airlines are keeping pace with a vast array of new entertainment systems and in-flight services.

With its impressive ICE entertainment system, Emirates has always been a step ahead of the game in terms of in-flight technology. However, the recent decision to introduce on-board mobile phone technology has been somewhat controversial, with several passengers opposed to the idea.

Patrick Brannelly, Emirates’ vice president of passenger communications and visual services believes the new system, which is currently operating on selected Boeing flights between Europe and Australia, is simply another example of the airline’s dedication to groundbreaking technology and passenger services.

But while some travellers will be delighted at the prospect of active mobiles during a flight, others feel it will be a disturbance in the small enclosed cabins.

Meanwhile several airlines are introducing internet access onboard flights, which seems a more popular move. American carrier, Delta, is currently implementing wi-fi across its entire domestic fleet. The airline’s chief executive Richard Anderson, says customers have been requesting wireless access for some time and that the introduction is certain to be a success.

Other carriers, including the Abu Dhabi-based Etihad, are planning to follow suit and implement wireless in the near future. The airline first introduced a successful broadband service in 2006 but it was discontinued after the technology provider, Connection by Boeing, closed down.

Aside from mobile phones and internet access, airlines are taking news headlines to the skies. Emirates has introduced the most up-to-date system on-board its flights, delivering current news snapshots to passengers.

Due to the expense of sending data airborne, full stories are not yet available, but despite this it still seems popular. And as technology develops further, data prices are likely to drop meaning news services can be further improved.

Elizaeth Cernik is the assistant editor of Aviation Business.

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