Turkey's flag carrier Turkish Airlines, or THY, will allow airborne cell phone use, live TV broadcast and internet in the air early next year, company's top executive announced on Friday.
"By the start of next year, our Boeing 777 planes will offer live satellite TV, cell phone calls, and wireless internet," THY's CEO Temel Kotil told the AA.
"This is the ultimate technology," he said.
Kotil said the new technology would be installed only in long-haul Boeing 777 planes in the first phase.
"We will start offering these services in January 2011," he said.
The 148-aircraft THY fleet includes 20 lang-haul airplanes. But as part of its expansion plans, THY, a Star Alliance member, plans to make it 38 by end-2011. THY grew by four-fold over the past eight years.
In recent years, THY initiated an advertisement program especially using TV commercials which starred famous figures such as Kevin Costner and players of Manchester United. THY is the official carrier of the English team and also Spain's Barcelona. Most recently, THY signed contract with NBA star Kobe Bryant and famous tennis player Caroline Wozniacki as part of its efforts to become the third five-star member of Star Alliance after Singapore Airlines and Asiana.
The Istanbul-based carrier flies to 123 overseas destinations in all continents, except Australia. In first ten months of 2010, THY passengers increased 17.5 percent while average of European air carriers was only 1.6 percent.