As the Federal Communications Commission considers ending a ban on in-flight cellphone calls, wireless analysts are predicting annual revenue of more than $2.4 billion a year for the service. "It's a huge coup for the telecom carriers; this opens up a massive market for them," said Ari Zoldan, CEO of Quantum Networks.
Services like in-flight meals have helped boost Avianca Brasil's load level to 82%. "We brought back food to the airplanes in Brazil. Brazilian travelers were not used to that anymore, so we are providing a different product," said CEO Jose Efromovich.
A group representing flight attendants expressed opposition last week to any federal changes that enable cellphone voice calls during flights, part of the response to a Federal Communications Commission proposal to review such policy. "Besides potential passenger conflicts, flight attendants also are concerned that in emergencies, cellphone use would drown out announcements and distract from life-saving instructions from the crew," said the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA.
Qantas is changing its Canberra service later this year, shifting selected Sydney-Canberra, Brisbane-Canberra and Melbourne-Canberra QantasLink flights to smaller Boeing 717 jets with a business-class section. The 737s previously used for the routes will be devoted to higher-traffic routes. It's not all bad news, though: Qantas' Q Streaming system, which streams movies and music to iPads, will be available.