|Source: Etihad. In-flight connectivity becomes a reality.|
The airline expects that its entire fleet of 89 passenger aircraft is connected in the coming months, which will make Etihad Airways the first in the region and one of the few airlines in the world to offer mobile and internet connectivity services on every aircraft. The passenger fleet includes 28 Airbus A320s, 26 A330s, 11 A340s and 24 Boeing 777 family aircraft.
The full suite of inflight connectivity services on the fleet includes Wi-Fi, mobile services and live TV. The services combine the Etihad Wi-Fly solution, powered by the Panasonic Avionics Global Communications Suite, and OnAir’s inflight connectivity solution.
Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer, said: “We are a global market leader in terms of onboard connectivity solutions. We believe that onboard connectivity is an important competitive differentiator for our guests and are continuously introducing new communications technology to enhance their travel experience. The rollout of our state-of-the-art connectivity solution will give our modern connected guests a seamless, robust experience at 35,000 feet, similar to what they expect at home or work.”
Guests will be able to enjoy high-speed broadband services on Wi-Fi enabled devices including smartphones, tablets and laptops from the comfort of their seat. The mobile connectivity service can be accessed by guests using their mobile phones and smartphones to make and receive phone calls, send and receive text messages and emails, and use mobile data services.
The live TV onboard service allows guests to watch live news and major sporting events on seven popular television channels including BBC World News, CNBC, CNN, euronews, Japan’s NHK World Premium, Sky News Arabia, and Sport 24.
Cabin crew and flight deck operations can also utilise Wi-Fi connections to handle medical emergencies. The crew is empowered to manage inflight guest issues by phone or email in real-time with the airline’s ground teams based in Abu Dhabi. Connectivity is also paving the way for the airline to enhance the guest experience through increased onboard retail opportunities, with the added benefit of real-time credit card transactions.
Packages to access the internet start at US$5 and can be purchased using credit cards, PayPal and other payment methods. Mobile telephone usage will be billed by the guest’s mobile service providers based on the international roaming rates levied by the service providers.
Etihad Airways’ Boeing 777 aircraft are used for long-haul destinations across the airline’s network, such as to Los Angeles and Washington DC, London, Manchester, Dublin, Düsseldorf, Paris, Sydney, Melbourne, São Paulo, Bangkok and Jakarta.