Wireless broadband access is coming to select Etihad flights to Europe by the end of the year.
Etihad bringing Wi-Fi to flyers on European routes
Etihad is bringing wireless broadband to the skies on select routes to Europe before the end of the year, said James Hogan, Etihad's chief executive.
Mr Hogan, speaking today at the World Broadband Forum in Paris, said, "I can tell you that Etihad will have two aircraft with operational onboard internet by December this year, and five aircraft by March, 2012.
"Three of those five aircraft will be Airbus A330-300s, which will operate between Abu Dhabi and cities like Frankfurt, Geneva, London, Munich and Paris. And we are right at the point now of settling on a fleet-wide connectivity solution for the years to come."
He added airlines now faced pressure from customers to make in-flight broadband access standard, but cautioned the industry to invest wisely in wireless innovation.
He said: "There is an ever-present danger of investing heavily in a system or hardware that is likely to be obsolete by the time it rolls off the production line."
Mr Hogan added Etihad's online sales in July were up 71 per cent on the previous year.
"The day is approaching when the greater part of our selling and CRM will be digital, particularly via smartphone and tablet devices," he said.