Emirates Airline – which flies to Dubai twice a day from Birmingham – is moving into the new world of digital media by teaming up with computer pioneer Apple to offer seamless iPod integration with its in-flight entertainment systems.
The Dubai-based airline’s passengers, who already enjoy more than 600 channels of in-flight entertainment on its award-winning ice system, will soon have one of the world’s first on-board iPod integrations, enabling them to use the portable devices to enjoy their own choice of music and videos, including full-length feature films, on their seat-back screens.
The move to new digital media came shortly after Emirates revealed it will be the world's first airline to offer its passengers in-flight mobile phone use across its entire fleet.
Emirates’ integrated iPod seat connection is scheduled for introduction from mid-2007. It will also provide a constant power source to ensure that passengers’ iPods are charged for the duration of their flights.
The in-flight iPod service will be integrated by Panasonic Avionics Corporation and will provide passengers with outstanding sound and seat-back video quality.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive Emirates Airline & Group, said: "We have been a leading innovator of in-flight entertainment since introducing the world’s first seat-back screens in 1992.
"IPod integration keeps us at the cutting edge of entertainment technology, and together with our existing in-flight systems will significantly enhance the enjoyment of flying with Emirates for thousands of our passengers who travel with their iPods."
Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice-president of worldwideiPod product marketing, also said: "There is no better travelling companion than an iPod – customers can take their music, photos, TV shows, Podcasts, and movies with them everywhere they go. We're excited to work with Emirates to take iPod connectivity to the next frontier for a seamless digital music and movie in-flight experience."
Emirates is one of only four airlines planning to offer iPod integration; the others being Continental, Delta and United.
With ice (information communications entertainment), Emirates’ 600-channel in-flight entertainment system currently available on almost half its 100-strong fleet, passengers can enjoy more content than any other in-flight entertainment system in the air.
They can also communicate via SMS and email direct from their seatbacks – and will soon be able to use their own mobile phones to make and receive phone calls and text messages, starting from early 2007 with the installation of the Aeromobile system.
Emirates won "Best In-Flight Entertainment" at the 2006 World Airline Awards by Skytrax, the second year in a row that the airline was chosen for the accolade, based on results of the Airline In-Flight Entertainment Survey commissioned and conducted by Skytrax Research.
This award was voted on by more than one million airline passengers and maintains Emirates’ global leadership in the in-flight entertainment category.