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Ryanair looks for new phones partner

Ryanair, Europe’s largest budget airline, said yesterday it would end its in-flight phone service when its trial with OnAir finishes and will instead look for another supplier to roll out the facility across its fleet.

The Irish airline said the 13-month contract, which was tested across 50 Ryanair planes, would end because the carrier and OnAir could not agree on the timing of fitting the service on the rest of the airline’s 230 aircraft.

The airline, led by chief executive Michael O’Leary, said it “regrets” On Air’s decision, but would “now invite other in-flight communications providers to tender for” its business.

OnAir, led by chief executive Benoit Debains, currently works with six airlines and said it plans to launch services with six more during the course of the year.

At the time of the launch, last February, Ryanair said its customers would be able make and receive calls at a rate of two to three euros per minute and email at one to two euros, using their mobile phones.

“It’s disappointing that OnAir and Ryanair couldn’t reach agreement on the detail of a roll-out to their entire fleet. OnAir remains fully committed to inflight connectivity,” said Debains.