Given that the Finns have declared Internet access a basic human right, we have to wonder whether this new Finnair in-flight Wi-Fi will be free. The airline would not comment, but fingers crossed.
Finnair has announced that its Board of Directors approved an investment program to install in-flight Wi-Fi on the majority of its wide-body and narrow-body fleet.
“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,” said Pekka Vauramo, Finnair CEO.
The first aircraft outfitted with the service will be its pride and joy, the new A350XWB, which will come into service in the autumn of 2015 and will be the first A350 flown by a European airline.
Wi-Fi installations for Finnair’s Airbus A330 long-haul and European short-haul Airbus fleet will follow in 2016. The Wi-Fi installation program should be completed by 2018.
A spokesperson for the airline tells us that it is “too early to comment on the provider or the technology” as the funding for the project has just been approved.
CEO Vauramo also told employees at the Annual General Meeting on Wednesday that 2015 will be a year marked by improvements and growth at Finnair, following the cost-savings initiatives of 2014.
“We have successfully completed a broad, three-year savings program,” said Vauramo. “Cost control naturally continues, but our focus is now strongly on increasing revenues. We are developing ancillary services systematically based on data collected from approximately 8000 of our customers in Europe and Asia, on what services they want and what they are willing to pay for.”
Included in the list of forthcoming improvements are new meal services onboard, Business Class seats with lie-flat beds, Economy Comfort seats, and expansion of its new “Light Ticket” pay only for what you need option. The company is also investing in varied digital services.
Photo credit: Rendering of business class in Finnair's A350s, which will be the first to get its new Wi-Fi. Finnair