Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Norwegian: Wi-Fi popular with passengers

Norwegian Air Shuttle said its free inflight Wi-Fi is a “hit” with its passengers and that on some routes—such as Oslo Gardermoen-Geneva—between 40% and 50% of all passengers logged on. Other popular Wi-Fi routes include OSL-London Gatwick, OSL-Dubai, OSL-Alicante, Stockholm Arlanda-LGW and ARL-Las Palmas. The LCC noted its wireless system set a record on the April 14 OSL-ALC flight when 87 passengers were logged on at 30,000 ft.

“We’re overwhelmed by the response among our passengers and are gradually installing Wi-Fi on all of our new aircraft,” said Norwegian Director of IT and Business Development Hans-Petter Aanby. “This is a product that no other airline in Europe is currently offering, which gives us a huge competitive advantage. Our passengers will soon be able to see in the booking process whether the aircraft has Wi-Fi.”

Norwegian launched high-speed broadband service in February with technology provided by US-based Row 44 (ATW Daily News, Feb. 10). Starting in May, Norwegian will offer inflight Wi-Fi on all flights between OSL and STO and 11 Boeing 737-800s will have Internet on board by summer. By the end of the year, 21 aircraft will be equipped. Norwegian plans to install Wi-Fi on its entire fleet by the end of 2012.

The carrier, which received ATW’s Market Leadership award in 2009, noted the service will be free of charge “for the time being.” Norwegian currently operates 57 aircraft on 238 routes to about 100 destinations. Fifteen new 737-800s, all equipped with Wi-Fi, are slated to enter its fleet in 2011.

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