Photograph — chwezitraveller

Ethiopian Airlines has introduced a new onboard offer to improve its customer service. The national carrier in a press release revealed that it has launched Wi-Fi connectivity for passengers, starting with its Airbus A350 fleet.

The new service uses the latest and upgraded Ka-band satellite broadband technology to provide customers with high-speed in-flight Wi-Fi services while flying.  “With the state-of-the-art broadband satellite technology, passengers can now enjoy reliable connectivity while flying over the clouds,” Ethiopian Airlines said.

The Airbus A350 is the flagship of Ethiopian Airlines’ fleet. With 12 currently in service, the service will only be available to a small number of Ethiopian Airlines passengers for now. Meanwhile, the airline also plans to roll out the new Wi-Fi service to its other aircraft operating long-haul routes.

Ethiopia Airlines, Africa’s biggest and the most profitable carrier flies to 95 international destinations across five continents and over 50 African cities – the largest network by a national carrier. In its seven decades of operation (founded in 1945) the airline has become one of the continent’s leading carriers in terms of efficiency and operational success.

With one of the youngest and most modern fleets in the world, standard in-flight services and the recent opening of its expanded passenger terminal and new five-star hotel at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, Ethiopia’s flag carrier is going through an exciting period of growth.

Moreover, in-flight Wi-Fi is a relatively recent development, according to a report by Business Insider. “For instance, Boeing didn’t get into the business until 2001. Gogo, one of the biggest names in the business didn’t come online until 2008,” the report said.

But while Ethiopian Airlines is considerably superior to its counterparts in Africa in terms of in-flight services, the competition is much tougher elsewhere in the world. For example, in the United States, major airlines have been coming up with strategies to differentiate their offerings to potential customers with some of them already operating onboard Wi-Fi service.

The addition of the onboard Wi-Fi internet to Ethiopian Airlines’ service is part of the carrier’s “relentless efforts to further add to passengers’ comfort keeping pace with the technology of the day,” Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde Gebre Mariam says. “As (a) customer-centric airline, we will remain focused on continuous service excellence, taking advantage of emerging technologies and infrastructure.”

The internet service will be available for customers to purchase at Ethiopian Airlines’ sales outlets, boarding gates, in-flight and using ShebaMiles, a platform run by the national carrier.

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