AIR TRAVEL: Mango Jets Into Cyberspace
Recent Western Cape Business News
Mango announced yesterday that it aims to be the first South African airline to offer Internet connectivity on board all its aircraft later this year, subject to CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) approval processes. The airline, whose partnership with G-Connect has already delivered more affordable bandwidth to South Africans, has extended this association with the provider to include the in-flight service. Using the G-Connect Internet on board Mango’s aircraft will cost less than R1 per megabyte.
“Mango’s focus this year is not only on enhancing service delivery to our Guests,” says CEO Nico Bezuidenhout, “but in the continual exploration of innovation and ancillary revenue opportunities. The launch of web-connectivity on board our aircraft not only underpins Mango’s business objectives but allows travellers, in particular our business Guests, to leverage a priceless commodity – time.” Bezuidenhout says that Mango’s Internet service will be operational across its fleet of new generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Mango will follow a similar rollout process as America’s low cost Southwest airline.
Carel van der Merwe, CEO of WirelessG says: “G-Connect strives to be an innovative product within the telecoms space, but with our first in-flight partnership with Mango, we are able to take this one step further and provide a low cost Internet service for local flyers as well. There are no sign-up costs to get a G-Connect account and no contract tie-ins, which makes this a viable option for all Mango Guests. Your G-Connect account then allows you stay connected through a shared wallet on the ground, or in-flight Wi-Fi in the air, paying only for the services use."
The satellite based technology will deliver high speed Internet at altitude. “In fact, the cost of data transfer is more affordable than many bandwidth offerings on the ground,” says Bezuidenhout. Several airlines, including cost Southwest, have made connectivity at altitude available globally with great success. Bezuidenhout adds though that Mango’s service will be moderated to exclude access to potentially offensive web content. “In order to ensure the comfort of all our Guests on board, content that should be accessed in privacy will not be available.”
Subash Devkaran, Senior Manager: Aircraft Certification Division of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) adds: "The application for and availability of wireless Internet on board commercial airliners is welcomed by the CAA. We do believe installation of this system would facilitate business efficiency in South Africa, thereby contributing to enhanced economic growth in the country."
G-Connect On board Internet access follows a string of aviation innovations by the airline. Mango was the first to retail bookings through Shoprite, Checkers and Checkers Hyper Moneymarket Counters and remains the only airline in the world to (Edgars, Jet) accept store charge cards as flight payment online and through its call centre. Last week, the airline also announced its founding membership of the Copenhagen Accord supporting Live The Deal/Green Earth Travel Foundation. Mango remains the most on-time departure airline in domestic skies.
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