More WiFi in the skies as Etihad introduces the latest technologies


(Posted 03rd October 2014)

Etihad, Abu Dhabi’s national airline, currently flying to Nairobi and coming to Entebbe in early 2015 and to Dar es Salaam in late 2015, has just announced that all their 24 B777 presently in service have now been connected to WiFi. This gives passengers flying on these aircraft types full connectivity while at cruising altitude, a key added benefit when travelling with the airline.

Etihad confirmed further that all their fleet aircraft, comprising 28 Airbus A320’s – the type used on the route to Nairobi and also for future flights to Uganda and Tanzania – 26 Airbus A330’s, 11 Airbus A340’s as well as the newly delivered B787 and Airbus A380 aircraft will be connected over the coming months.

The connectivity will extend beyond just WiFi for smart phones, tablets and laptops but also include live TV and other mobile services.

Mr. Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer, said: ‘We are a global market leader in terms of onboard connectivity solutions. We believe that onboard connectivity is an important competitive differentiator for our guests and are continuously introducing new communications technology to enhance their travel experience.The roll out of our state-of-the-art connectivity solution will give our modern connected guests a seamless, robust experience at 35,000 feet, similar to what they expect at home or work’.

When introduced across the fleet will passengers from East Africa be able to enjoy high-speed broadband services on Wi-Fi enabled devices including smartphones, tablets and laptops, allowing them to surf the internet, update social media, purchase gifts, upgrade seats, change travel plans and much more, all from the comfort of their seat.

The mobile connectivity service can be accessed by guests using their mobile phones and smartphones to make and receive phone-calls, send and receive text messages and emails, and use mobile data services.

The Live TV onboard service allows guests to watch live news and major sporting events on seven popular television channels including BBC World News, CNBC, CNN, euronews, Japan’s NHK World Premium, Sky News Arabia, and Sport 24.

Cabin crew and flight deck operations can also utilise Wi-Fi connections to handle medical emergencies. The crew is empowered to manage inflight guest issues by phone or email in real-time with the airline’s ground teams based in Abu Dhabi. Connectivity is also paving the way for the airline to enhance the guest experience through increased onboard retail opportunities, with the added benefit of real-time credit card transactions.

WiFi packages to access the internet start at US$5 and can be purchased using credit cards, PayPal and a range of other convenient payment methods. Mobile telephone usage will be billed by the guest’s mobile service providers based on the international roaming rates levied by the service providers.

Etihad Airways’ Boeing 777 aircraft are presently used for flights from Abu Dhabi to such long-haul destinations across the airline’s network like Los Angeles, Washington DC, London, Manchester, Dublin, Düsseldorf, Paris, Sydney, Melbourne, São Paulo, Bangkok and Jakarta.

Watch this space for breaking and regular aviation news about developments affecting Eastern Africa.

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