Singapore Airlines A380

Passengers flying with Singapore Airlines (SIA) can now access the internet for a fee, announced the airline Thursday.

SIA passengers will not only be able to send and receive emails on smartphones and other electronic devices during their flight but also send and receive SMS text messages with GSM-compatible mobile phones.

The new In-Flight Connectivity Programme, which cost SIA US$50 million, is now available on 14 aircraft in the fleet, including five Airbus A340-500s which fly long-distance routes between Singapore, Newark and Los Angeles. The service will be progressively rolled out across various long-haul SIA aircraft over the next two years.

From now to November 30, the airline will charge passengers for the wifi service at promotional rates of US$25 for every 30 MB of data surfed and $10 for 10 MB of data.

SIA recently unveiled new measures to attract more passengers in a bid to stay ahead of its rivals such as Qatar Airways and Emirates.

In August, the airline announced plans to develop a new design concept in all of its 15 SilverKris airport lounges worldwide. It also plans to revamp its plane cabins and in-flight entertainment platform.

Singapore Airlines, which started in 1972, was the first airline to offer free headsets and drinks in Economy Class in the 1970s. It was also the first airline to introduce satellite-based in-flight telephone service in 1991.