Saudia has become the first airline in the Middle East to offer free wi-fi to its first class and business class passengers. The promotion, which started on 19 May, is available on flights between the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia and US destinations, as well as London Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Dubai.
Saudia’s inflight connectivity is provided by OnAir. The airline is giving all premium passengers vouchers for Internet OnAir, providing free internet access for the entire flight. In the first few weeks of the promotion, Saudia has reported a dramatic rise in usage figures. According to the airline, the number of people using inflight internet is up 140% across the Saudia fleet and those people are consuming triple the amount of data, compared to figures immediately before the promotion started.
“Internet access has proved to be very popular with all our passengers since we started offering OnAir services nearly four years ago,” said Abdulmohsen Jonaid, chief commercial officer of Saudia. “We are now breaking new ground by being the first Middle East airline to give free internet access to our first and business class passengers. We firmly believe other airlines will, in due course, follow our lead.”
OnAir’s SwiftBroadband-based inflight connectivity first flew on Saudia’s A330s in September 2010. Three years later, the airline installed connectivity on more A330s, as well as on its three-class B777 fleet. And it was announced at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in April that when Saudia’s B787s start flying at the end of 2015 (with new interiors designed by Honour Branding), they will also be fully equipped with OnAir connectivity.
“Saudia is already at the forefront of cabin connectivity, providing both Internet OnAir and Mobile OnAir, our GSM product, on its long-haul fleets. By giving free inflight connectivity to premium passengers Saudia is really setting the standard.” said Stephan Egli, chief commercial officer of OnAir. “Expanding OnAir connectivity to another fleet shows how much Saudia and its passengers value the ability to stay in touch throughout the flight.”