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UAE-based airline major Emirates is spending US$20mn a year as its rolls out WiFi services across its fleet and will someday make the service available to passengers for free
Emirates, however, did not state when the WiFi fleet roll out would be complete or when it plans to offer the service free of charge. However, the airline did say that it subsidises some of the costs and has an aggressive retrofit programme to make the service available.
Tim Clark, president of Emirates, said, “Ultimately, we believe that on-board WiFi will become a free service and a standard that customers will expect on a full-service airline.”
Emirates said that on most of its flights equipped with WiFi, the first 10MB offered to passengers is free of charge. A US$1 charge is levied for the next 600MB.
The Middle East’s largest passenger airline currently offers WiFi on its 53 Airbus A380s and on 28 Boeing 777s.
In October this year, the airline recorded a 200 per cent surge in the WiFi usage compared to the same month a year earlier. Through October the daily average was 3,500 passengers using on-board services at an average of 28 MB per user, according to the airline.
A roll-out of WiFI services across the airline’s fleet can also improve the carrier’s operations alongside its appeal among travellers.
However, the use of on-board WiFi is currently subject to the countries the airline flies over. According to the airline’s website, its WiFi services may not be available over a number of countries including China, India and the USA.