May 15, 2018 / 4:13 PM / a year ago

SAS introduces high-speed Wi-Fi on flights to keep up with competitors

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Scandinavian Airline SAS said passengers will be able to access Wi-Fi on board some flights from Wednesday, joining a growing number of rivals in Europe to offer the facility as it seeks to boost passenger revenues.

More and more airlines now provide in-flight Wi-Fi as satellite technology has matured, triggering what industry players have termed a ‘gold rush’ among suppliers as they race to sign up airlines.

SAS is teaming up with California based communications company Viasat which will be providing a satellite-based Wi-Fi service for the airline, although it will not be fully rolled out across the fleet until 2020.

Wi-Fi is now accessible on 43 percent of all available seat miles worldwide, up 10 percent from early 2017, according to a 2018 report by Routehappy, which provides information on flight amenities.

Premium customers in SAS traveling on business class will be able to use Wi-Fi for free on any flight, while economy passengers will have to pay 4.90 euros per flight. While the price has come down, installing a Wi-Fi system on a single plane still costs between $250,000-$300,000, said a representative from Viasat.

Reporting by Emil Gjerding Nielson; Editing by Victoria Bryan and Susan Fenton

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