HELSINKI and CARLSBAD, Calif., Sept. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Finnair has signed an agreement with ViaSat Inc., (NASDAQ: VSAT) 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.
With a connection speed of 12 Mbps or higher per passenger, the new system will offer the fastest in-flight internet connection currently available on the market, which will also enable the use of increasingly popular 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.
"Our customers increasingly value the possibility of being connected during their flights and this change will also create great opportunities for Finnair to further develop its in-flight portal that will serve customers with news, entertainment and great shopping opportunities on their portable devices," says Piia Karhu, SVP, Customer Experience Development at Finnair. "We are very pleased to partner with ViaSat on this project as we will be able to offer our customers the best possible Wi-Fi offering available on the market today, and that has the ability to scale, once the installations are completed."
"Finnair is a forward-looking airline that is recognized worldwide for customer service," says Don Buchman, vice president and general manager, Commercial Mobility at ViaSat. "With the ViaSat in-flight Wi-Fi system, enabled across Europe by Eutelsat's service, Finnair can deliver greater value to its customers by giving them the freedom to use their own device to engage with the internet in new ways – from enhanced online shopping to out-of-the-box online entertainment experiences."
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.
About Finnair Finnair flies between Asia, Europe and North America with an emphasis on fast connections via Helsinki, carrying more than ten million passengers annually and connecting 17 cities in Asia with more than 60 destinations in Europe. The airline, a pioneer in sustainable flying, is the European launch customer of the next-generation, eco-smart Airbus A350 XWB aircraft and is the first airline listed in the Leadership Index of the worldwide Carbon Disclosure Project. The only Nordic carrier with a 4-star Skytrax ranking, Finnair has also won the World Airline Award for Best Airline Northern Europe for the past seven years running. Finnair is a member of oneworld, the alliance of the world's leading airlines committed to providing the highest level of service and convenience to frequent international travellers.
About ViaSat ViaSat, Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT) keeps the world connected. As a global broadband services and technology company, ViaSat ensures consumers, businesses, governments and military personnel have communications access - anywhere - whether on the ground or in-flight. The Company's innovations in designing highest-capacity satellites and secure ground infrastructure and terminal technologies coupled with its international network of managed Wi-Fi hotspots enable ViaSat to deliver a best available network that extends the reach and accessibility of broadband internet service, globally. For more information visit ViaSat at: www.viasat.com, or follow the Company on social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.
Forward Looking Statement This press release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to the safe harbors created under the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Forward-looking statements, among others, include statements that refer to the speed, performance and quality of the ViaSat/Eutelsat internet service; the roll-out and uptake of products and services by, and services offered by Finnair; and the expected capacity, service, coverage, service speeds, availability and other features of the satellites, and the timing, cost, economics and other benefits associated therewith. Readers are cautioned that actual results could differ materially and adversely from those expressed in any forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ include: the ability to successfully implement ViaSat's business plan for broadband services on the anticipated timeline or at all; risks associated with the construction, launch and operation of satellites, including the effect of any anomaly, operational failure or degradation in satellite performance; ability to successfully develop, introduce and sell new technologies, products and services; government audits; changes in the global business environment and economic conditions; reduced demand for products and services as a result of continued constraints on capital spending by customers; changes in relationships with, or the financial condition of, key customers or suppliers; reliance on a limited number of third parties to manufacture and supply ViaSat's products; increased competition; introduction of new technologies and other factors affecting the communications and defense industries generally; the effect of adverse regulatory changes on ViaSat's ability to sell products and services; ViaSat's level of indebtedness and ability to comply with applicable debt covenants; ViaSat's involvement in litigation, including intellectual property claims and litigation to protect proprietary technology; and ViaSat's dependence on a limited number of key employees. In addition, please refer to the risk factors contained in ViaSat's SEC filings available at www.sec.gov, including ViaSat's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made. ViaSat undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements for any reason.