While perhaps not cutting edge at this point, Ethiopian Airlines has just announced a nice improvement to their onboard product.
Ethiopian Airlines has just introduced wifi on their Airbus A350 aircraft. For this new service, Ethiopian is using Ka-band broadband satellite technology, so you can expect the speeds to be pretty good (it drives me nuts when airlines nowadays roll out wifi using the OnAir service). While the airline is starting by offering wifi on the A350s, they plan to eventually have wifi on other long haul aircraft as well.
Ethiopian Airlines A350-900
Ethiopian Airlines currently has a fleet of 12 Airbus A350-900s, with a further 12 A350-900s on order. Ethiopian Airlines’ CEO had the following to say about the introduction of inflight wifi:
“We are glad to introduce inflight internet connectivity with the latest broadband satellite technology, Ka-band, offering our passengers seamless digital experience as they fly Ethiopian. The launch of the onboard wi-fi internet is part of our relentless efforts to further add to passengers’ comfort keeping pace with the technology of the day. As customer-centric airline, we will remain focused on continuous service excellence, taking advantage of emerging technologies and infrastructure.”
In addition to being able to buy wifi onboard by logging on and paying with a debit card or credit card, you can also buy a wifi voucher at Ethiopian Airlines sales outlets, including at the Addis Ababa Airport customer service desk, at the boarding gate, and from flight attendants.
I would imagine this is intended to facilitate purchasing wifi with cash, though I can’t imagine that will be that popular.
Unfortunately Ethiopian Airlines hasn’t yet revealed the pricing of their new wifi service, or the timeline with which they plan to offer wifi on more of their planes.
Congrats to Ethiopian Airlines for finally introducing inflight wifi. They’re one of Africa’s all-around best and most global airlines, and it’s nice to see this further improvement to their experience.