BA to bring BT Openzone to 80 executive lounges
BT today announced that it had struck an exclusive global deal with British Airways to install BT Openzone access points in 80 of its main customer lounges around the world.
The contract, which reinforces BT’s leading position in the UK for public Wi-Fi, will mean travellers can experience the benefits of BT Openzone wireless broadband in British Airways executive lounges across the UK, Europe, United States, Africa, South Africa and India. The first ones will be working by the end of April.
Hundreds of thousands of business and leisure travellers pass through British Airways’ prestigious executive lounges every year. Connecting to the service will give them the chance to maximise every minute of their working days, even ‘waiting time’ in airport lounges.
Airports have proved to be among the most popular locations for customers to enjoy the benefits of wire-free, high-speed working away from the office. During Wireless Broadband Week, when BT opened up access to its network free of charge, the company’s existing airport access points at Heathrow and Gatwick were in the top ranks of the most popular sites.
Steve Andrews, managing director, BT Mobility, hailed the British Airways contract as a major success. He added: “BT has again led the way in the public Wi-Fi arena by signing this global deal with British Airways.
“This will be another huge benefit to our customers and shows that we are delivering on our promise to establish a widespread network of premium sites for BT Openzone.
“We see airports and airport lounges as perfect locations for BT Openzone access points. Flying, whether for business or pleasure, usually means spending some time waiting. Now customers have the opportunity to wirelessly log on to their company intranet to download the latest version of a presentation cost effectively at broadband speeds, or to catch up on their emails, or simply surf the web making them as efficient as when they’re in the office.”
The deal is the latest in a string of recent major contract signings for BT, including a roll-out in McDonald’s restaurants across the UK. It means that businessmen and other passengers will be able to log on wirelessly in the comfort of British Airways’ lounges and terraces, initially at London Heathrow and London Gatwick.
Other BA lounges across the UK are also due to be covered, including Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle in England, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen in Scotland and Belfast in Northern Ireland.
But the footprint of the coverage will also cover major European cities, such as Amsterdam, Rome, Berlin, Copenhagen and Athens, as well as all the major destinations in the United States and locations in Africa, South Africa and India. A full list of sites is available at www.btopenzone.com.
Paul Coby, chief information officer at British Airways said: “We are delighted to have signed an agreement with BT to have wireless LAN systems installed in more than 80 of our main lounges across the world in the next few months.
“The wireless facilities will give instant internet and email connectivity to the hundreds of thousands of customers who use our lounges every year. We know many of them already want to make best use of their time whether it’s on business or leisure either before or just after a flight.
“Our lounges have always aimed to strike a balance between giving customers enough time, space and comfort to relax as well as making enough computer areas or connection points available to those who want to work by checking their emails or relax by surfing the web.
“The beauty of having wireless technology is that the customer can start up a wireless-enabled computer wherever they want to sit rather than having to use a dedicated area to have live internet access.
“This ground breaking agreement is a major breakthrough between British Airways and BT – two British global companies going forward in wireless connectivity around the world.”