Etihad Airways has announced it will provide onboard wirelessinternet onboard flights from five European cities by early next year.
Three ofthe airline’s A330-300s are to be fitted with the technology, which operate onroutes to Abu Dhabi from London, Paris, Frankfurt, Geneva and Munich. Two otheraircraft will also be fitted with the technology, with plans for an eventualfleet-wide roll-out.
“I can tell you that Etihad will have two aircraft withoperational onboard internet by December this year,” said James Hogan, CEO ofEtihad at the World Broadband Forum in Paris. He added that despite highcustomer demand for internet access onboard, the airline had been cautious toensure it had the right technology onboard for the future. “Annually, airlinesinvest billions in aircraft and millions in in-flight entertainment and othertrappings, years before the aircraft enter service,” explained Hogan. “Changesin technology move at the speed of light… There is an ever present danger ofinvesting heavily in a system or hardware that is likely to be obsolete by thetime it rolls off the production line”.