Finland’s national carrier announced plans to invest €30 million (US$35 million) in equipping both its widebody and narrowbody fleet with Wi-Fi.
The first aircrafts to receive Wi-Fi certification would be its Airbus A350-900 to be delivered between Q3-Q4 2015. While the airline has not chosen a supplier yet, it will likely be one of ViaSat, OnAir, T-Mobile.
Finnair CEO Pekka Vauramo said: “This investment will enable us to offer a wide array of new services to our customers, ranging from inflight entertainment to inflight sales and ancillaries.”
Currently, Finnair operates 59 aircrafts between itself and its subsidiary Flybe Nordic. Refer to the following table for additional information:
The 19 Airbus A350-900s will be used to replace the older A340-300 aircrafts used for long-haul service.
Finnair’s Wi-Fi retrofit schedule is not as aggressive as other airlines but it is not as important as the majority of its long haul network would be managed by the Airbus A350-900 which comes with Wi-Fi connectivity pre-installed.
One World Alliance
Of the 15 One World alliance members, only American Airlines, British Airways (JFK-LCY only), Japan Airlines, Qatar Airways and Sri Lankan Airlines have Wi-Fi installed on their long haul aircrafts.
As noted in our post on SAS’ new long haul product (Refer to post for information), it and low cost airline Norwegian Air already have Wi-Fi implemented.
Final Call – Connectivity as a Necessity
Internet connectivity is no longer a should-have amenity for both pleasure and business travellers. Many airlines such as Emirates are offering essentially free Wi-Fi to all passengers (refer to the following post for details) which have created a new expectation for this service on board long haul flights. As 2015 continues, this expectation will push connectivity as a higher priority item for airlines around the world to plan and implement. Finnair may be ahead of its One World alliance members but behind on its nordic regional full service and discount competitors.