Bahrain’s state owned carrier, Gulf Air plans to fit its new aircraft with its new state of the art ‘Sky Hub’ Inflight Entertainment (IFE) system. The technology will allow passengers to watch live TV, receive text messages and access social-media networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
The first aircraft to be fitted with the ‘Sky Hub’ system will be an A330-200, of which Gulf Air recently took delivery. The airline plans to offer the service for free in the first few weeks while the system is being tested on-board. Once the airline’s other aircraft get upgraded with the new IFE system, the airline plans to start charging for the Internet at a cost of $15.91 per hour of use while Phone-call charges will be the same as roaming charges and payments will go through standard telephone bills.
The airline plans to offer Live satellite TV featuring sports games, stock-market updates. The airline which is in the midst of a 3 year re-organization to better compete with other Middle-East carriers believes that the millions of dollars of investment in the new system would pay off in 4-5 years from the revenue generated by the usage charges collected from its customers. Lets see how successful this new endeavor proves to be and what other airlines think about implementing the same.