Monday, February 23, 2009

Roaming - Ryanair opens planes for roaming charges

Ryanair Introduces In-Flight Mobile Phone Calls on 20 Planes

Ryanair Holdings Plc introduced technology allowing passengers to make in-flight mobile phone calls, becoming the first discount airline in the world to offer such as service, the Irish company said today.

Voice calls, text-messaging and e-mails will initially be possible on 20 aircraft operating mainly out of Ryanair’s base in Dublin, the carrier said in a statement. The service will be extended across the 170-strong fleet in about 18 months.

Ryanair is betting that the technology will allow it to boost so-called ancillary revenues, the money that it makes aside from ticket sales. Passengers will make and receive voice calls at non-European Union international roaming rates of 1.50 pounds ($2.16) to 3 pounds a minute, according to the statement. Texts will cost 40 pence and e-mails using phones and other devices will cost as much as 2 pounds per message.

“This service will allow passengers to keep in touch with the office, family or friends,” Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary said. “We expect demand to grow rapidly.”

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