AT&T announced this morning that it had signed a five-year deal with Air China to help the airline develop a roadmap for mobile communications and technology.

The airline is China's flagship carrier and one of the world's largest airlines, carrying almost 50 million passengers to 284 destinations, including 72 international cities, last year.

By working with AT&T, Air China is hoping to combat the effects of rising oil prices and increasing pressure from low-cost carriers by improving the customer experience and enhancing its operational efficiency.

Some of the mobility services that AT&T offers airline companies include ground operations applications for airline staff, mobile passenger reservation systems, baggage and cargo tracking applications and digital signage at airport terminals.

AT&T will conduct interviews with Air China executives and operational staff, while observing the airline's operations at key facilities. Following the research phase, AT&T will make recommendations in a five-year plan that will detail how mobile technologies and procedures can be implemented to deliver better customer service and generate revenue.

"Mobility is reshaping business models in the aviation industry and beyond, allowing corporations to enhance customer service responsiveness and accelerate productivity," said Mike Troiano, vice president, advanced mobility solutions, AT&T Business Solutions. "A holistic global mobility strategy that goes beyond standalone applications and piecemeal processes is crucial for corporations like Air China that are serious about transforming their international business and avoiding unnecessary complexity."

Last month AT&T announced a multi-year agreement with Delta Air Lines to provide a new in-flight point-of-sale system for flight attendants.