Etihad Airways, which next month becomes one of the few airlines in the world to offer fleet-wide in-flight connectivity services, has witnessed a dramatic surge in internet and mobile phone usage in 2014.
Reflecting the broader trend for people to use their personal devices for work and entertainment when travelling, the growth was largely driven by people logging onto Etihad Airways’ Wi-Fi network, with usage rising by 80 per cent last year.
Increased demand for onboard mobile services also contributed to the surge in usage, with 2.6 million devices connecting to the airline’s onboard mobile network in 2014.
In-flight texts and mobile phone calls increased by 62 per cent and 61 per cent respectively, compared to the same period in 2013.
iOS was the most popular operating system onboard, with 55 per cent of the airline’s guests connecting to the internet with their iPads and iPhones, while 30 per cent used devices running on Android’s operating system.
Etihad Airways’ Live TV service is attracting strong interest and receiving great feedback from travellers, with an average of 50,000 hours of live news and major sporting events being viewed each month.
Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways chief commercial officer, said: “We continue to redefine our guests’ air travel experience with innovative products and services, the latest communication technology and entertainment systems that best fit their needs.
“When people travel, they want to stay connected with their work, their friends and their family.
“They also want to be kept up-to-date with 24 hour world news services. This is now possible for the entire journey on an Etihad Airways flight.”
The services comprising Wi-Fi, mobile connectivity and live television, combine the “Etihad Wi-Fly” solution, powered by the Panasonic Avionics Global Communications Suite, and OnAir’s in-flight connectivity solution.
The high-speed broadband services enable guests to access the Internet from laptops, tablets and smartphones over Wi-Fi, allowing them to send emails, log onto their favourite social media sites, upgrade seats, change travel plans and much more, all from the comfort of their seats at 35,000 feet.