Finnair has launched a new high-speed internet service on its European Airbus A320 family flights in a partnership with California-based communications provider Viasat.

So far, the new service has been installed on six A320 family aircraft, and Finnair expects the number to rise to about 20 aircraft by the end of the summer.

By summer 2019, the entire Airbus fleet (8 A319s, 10 A320s and 18 A321s) is expected to be internet connected.

Finnair SVP-customer experience Piia Karhu said: “Customers can also enjoy the services we provide online through our Nordic Sky portal … having an internet connection onboard also enables us to introduce new tools for our crew to improve the customer experience on our flights.”

Internet connectivity will be complimentary on European flights during the testing period, which lasts for two months. This fall, Finnair will release the pricing model.

Viasat VP & GM-commercial aviation Don Buchman added: “In entering the passenger testing phase, we’ll be gaining the critical insights needed to further optimize our service to ensure Finnair customers get a unique experience built around their needs, interests and usage behaviors.”

Once the installations are complete, the inflight internet connection will be available on most of Finnair’s European flights. There are some limitations above sea areas—such as the Bay of Biscay (Spain, France) and the North Sea—where satellite coverage and connectivity are still unavailable. Some restrictions also apply over Latvia, Lithuania, parts of Belarus and Russia. Restrictions may also apply to gate-to-gate internet service availability because of specific country and aviation agency regulations.

Finnair already provides internet connection on all its long-haul flights.

Kurt Hofmann, hofmann.aviation@netway.at