September 8 2016  |  Connectivity & Satellites

ViaSat Wi-Fi planned for SAS aircraft

By Rick Lundstrom

SAS will be partnering with ViaSat, for onboard Wi-Fi on 100 aircraft cabins, the airline announced today.

The first aircraft with the refreshed cabin interior will be SAS's 30 A320neo. The 70 other retrofits will take place between 2017 and mid-2019. The Wi-Fi onboard and cabin upgrades are expected to amount to a total investment of approximately MSEK 500 over a three-year period.

With the ViaSat installation, SAS says it will offer Wi-Fi speeds of 12 Mbps and higher to each passenger. 

"Many of our customers are frequent flyers and we play an important part in the lives of many people. The upgrade we implemented on our long haul aircraft gained a very positive reception and we are now upgrading our short and medium haul fleet, which will also include high-speed WiFi with speeds that enable time on board to be utilized for work or to relax and enjoy a streamed movie or TV series. As both passengers and crew on board are now connected, we can take our personal service to greater heights while continuing to develop our digital, smart solutions that make life easier," says Rickard Gustafson, President and CEO of SAS in today’s release on the new feature.

In addition to streaming, social media and traditional workplace applications cabin crew  have been recently equipped with iPad Minis that will be connected to the Wi-Fi system.

With new high-speed Wi-Fi capabilities SAS crew will be able to access flight and passenger information – before takeoff, during the flight and after the flight lands. This includes helping passengers check if their flight is on time to the status of connecting flights, check their EuroBonus account or even book a EuroBonus flight, shop in the EuroBonus store, rent a car, book a taxi to meet them at the airport or supply feedback to SAS crew members.

The first aircraft with the new Wi-Fi system will enter service in the second half of 2017. Onboard Wi-Fi will be free on short haul flights for all SAS EuroBonus members and SAS Plus ticket holders.

"In working with SAS, we are making the internet accessible, fast and easy-to-use at 35,000 feet. Only by coupling the ViaSat end-to-end service platform with Eutelsat's European satellite connectivity, can we enable airlines, like SAS, to offer a best-in-class onboard Wi-Fi service in Europe for free to EuroBonus-members and SAS Plus passengers," says Mark Dankberg, chairman and CEO, ViaSat.


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