Finnair has signed an agreement with ViaSat Inc., a global broadband services and technology company, to install a high-speed wireless Internet network on its entire Airbus A320 series short-haul fleet flying in Europe. The installation of the Wi-Fi equipment will begin in May 2017, and will be completed by June 2018.
The system will offer connection speeds of 12 Mbps or higher per passenger, Finnair said, enabling the use of video streaming services. ViaSat will ensure end-to-end in-flight connectivity service across the Finnair fleet, and has partnered with Eutelsat to deliver the high-speed satellite-based Internet service, which will cover the entire European continent.
Last July, Finnair announced that its entire long-haul fleet of Airbus A330 aircraft would be retrofitted with Wi-Fi connectivity by May 2017. Finnair is currently operating six A350-XWB aircraft which already offer wireless connectivity for its passengers. The airline is expected to receive an additional five A350 aircraft by the end of next year. With both the long-haul and short-haul fleet set to offer Internet connectivity by June 2018, over a thousand route pairs in Finnair's network will offer Wi-Fi connectivity for transiting passengers. Additionally, Finnair's Wi-Fi coverage over Chinese airspace has recently been opened, having been closed previously due to limitations by the authorities.
Finnair's wireless Internet access is free for Business class passengers, Finnair Plus Gold and Platinum customers, and oneworld Sapphire and Emerald level customers. Economy class passengers can purchase Internet access at an hourly rate or for the duration of the flight.