STOCKHOLM and CARLSBAD, Calif., Sept. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- SAS, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, has been focused on bringing innovation to its passengers since 1946. With a passion and vision to 'make life easier' for Scandinavia's frequent flyers, SAS is making investments of MSEK 500 across its entire short and medium haul fleet – from installing the fastest WiFi on the market to completing a full cabin upgrade. By partnering with ViaSat, SAS can offer onboard WiFi speeds of 12 Mbps and higher to each passenger; ensuring time spent on board will be more productive and more enjoyable with streaming TV, music and movies.
"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.
Giving Passengers a Seamless WiFi Experience SAS is committed to delivering seamless WiFi travel experiences where passengers can access all of their content and information from anywhere: at home, at the airport or o nboard. The new onboard high-speed WiFi service gives passenger's gate-to-gate internet access with the fastest speed available on the market.
In addition to streaming, social media and traditional workplace applications, passengers can also expect to get better assistance from the cabin crew, which have been recently equipped with iPad Minis that will be connected to the WiFi system. With new high-speed WiFi capabilities SAS crew will be able to access flight and passenger information – before take-off, 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 even tell SAS crew members what they thought of the service – all while on board.
The first aircraft with the new WiFi-system will enter service in the second half of 2017. Onboard WiFi 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 WiFi service in Europe for free to EuroBonus-members and SAS Plus passengers," says Mark Dankberg, chairman and CEO, ViaSat.
Upgrading the Cabin for a Better Overall Experience The first aircraft with the refreshed cabin interior will be SAS's new A320neo, which in addition to extra leg room, new and more comfortable seats, a lighting system that aligns with the time of day and USB outlets at seats to keep personal devices charged, will also offer 15-20% lower fuel consumption. The interior design is in line with the new cabin offered on SAS long haul routes, which was launched in 2015. The new interior quickly became very popular with both Scandinavian and international customers.
In addition to 30 new A320s, 70 existing cabins will also be upgraded between 2017 and mid-2019. The WiFi onboard and cabin upgrades are expected to amount to a total investment of approximately MSEK 500 over a three year period.
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 SAS; 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.