LCC Norwegian will offer free Wi-Fi on long-haul operations, mirroring the service on its short-haul European fleet, although there will also be a faster, paid option.

Most European airlines charge for Wi-Fi, making Norwegian’s complimentary short-haul service unusual.

Earlier this year, Norwegian announced plans to roll out Wi-Fi on its long-haul fleet from later in 2018, although it did not disclose whether it planned to monetize the service.

Speaking at a media briefing in London on Feb. 13, Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos said the free Wi-Fi option will be offered alongside a paid high-speed option, which is fast enough to stream movies and TV shows.

Kjos said the free Wi-Fi will target business passengers especially. He expects the service to get strong uptake among passengers, once it goes live on Norwegian’s Boeing 787s and 737 MAXs from the end of this year.

Norwegian’s undisclosed supplier is working to get its equipment approved for use on the carrier’s long-haul aircraft.

“It seems to be going fine,” Kjos said. “It’s now in testing, which we need to do to be able to install the Wi-Fi. Needless to say, we will provide free Wi-Fi to everybody. That’s one thing we want to do. Everybody should have access to free Wi-Fi. We need enough satellite coverage so they can use Wi-Fi without restrictions, so that’s why we’ve gone to a vendor with much better coverage.”

Panasonic supplies the IFE hardware for Norwegian’s short-haul 737 and long-haul 787 fleet, while Global Eagle provides connectivity and content on the 737s.

Victoria Moores/ATW