Finnair is set to upgrade its entire long-haul fleet of aircraft with high-speed Wi-Fi by May 2017, the company has announced.

The first Finnair aircraft to boast Wi-Fi connectivity to its passengers launched at the end of last year onboard the new Airbus A350 WXB. The installation of Wi-Fi onboard the company’s current long-haul mainstay the Airbus A330 will begin in October 2016 however, with the completion date set for May 2017.

“In May 2017, our customers will be able to enjoy wireless network connection onboard all of our long-haul fleet. In addition to Internet access, we will have a broad offering of inflight entertainment, shopping opportunities, real-time news content and other additional services in Finnair’s free of charge Nordic Sky portal,” says Piia Karhu, senior vice president, customer experience development.

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (PAC Panasonic), which already supplies the connection for the A350 fleet, has been chosen as the supplier of the wireless connection on Airbus A330 aircraft. The connection will be achieved by Ku band satellite technology, which guarantees a working global network connection during a flight. The Ku band technology does have its limitations however, with speed set to be much less than that of Ka-band equipped aircraft.

Wireless Internet access is free to Business class passengers, Finnair Plus Gold and Platinum customers and one world Sapphire and Emerald level customers. Economy class passengers can purchase Internet access at an hourly rate (5 euro/hour) or for the duration of the flight (15 euro).

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