SAS unveils plans for 'fastest Wi-Fi in Europe'

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You would also be able to read The Local from the air. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT
11:24 CEST+02:00
SAS has announced plans to install high-speed internet on its European routes.

The airline, which is 50 percent owned by the Danish, Norwegian and Swedish states, said it planned to invest 500 million Swedish kronor (392m Danish kroner, 483.5m Norwegian kroner, $59m) – "from installing the fastest Wi-Fi in Europe to completing a full cabin upgrade" across its short and medium haul fleet.

"Many of our customers are frequent flyers and we play an important part in the lives of many people," said SAS president and CEO Rickard Gustafson in a statement on Thursday.

"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 Wi-Fi with speeds that enable time onboard to be utilized for work or to relax and enjoy a streamed movie or TV series."

Many of The Local's international readers are frequent travellers and may argue that high-speed internet at 30,000 feet does not always seem to be exactly what it says on the tin. However, SAS said it had partnered with broadcast satellite distributor Viasat and promised to offer onboard speeds of at least 12 Mbps.

"We have tried internet before but did not think it was good enough. It was like an old dial-up modem and almost gave us more badwill than goodwill. This is something completely different," said Gustafson.

SAS said the first aircraft with the new Wi-Fi was to take flight in the second half of 2017, adding that the service would be free on short haul flights for EuroBonus members and Plus ticket holders.

The Scandinavian airline, which is celebrating 70 years in service, also said it planned to revamp 70 existing cabins and its 30 new A320s with extra leg room and more comfortable seats with USB outlets.

The announcements came as SAS also reported second-quarter revenues of 11,133 million Swedish kronor and a net income of 805 million kronor, despite a major pilots' strike grounding flights in June.

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It said overall scheduled traffic grew 12 percent in August, with intercontinental traffic increasing by 26.7 percent and 3.2 percent on its European and Scandinavian routes.

READ ALSO: SAS sets all-time July passenger record

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