Norwegian first to offer broadband on intra-European flights

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Scandinavian budget carrier Norwegian has quietly started offering Row 44's in-flight high-speed Internet service to passengers on a single Boeing 737-800, becoming the first carrier to provide airborne broadband on European routes.

"We went live with our first Wi-Fi-enabled aircraft, LN-DYC, yesterday evening," Norwegian communications manager Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen confirms to ATI and Flightglobal.

"This aircraft is a test aircraft as we are officially launching the service on 8 February on another aircraft, LN-DYG with [the Boeing] SKY Interior."

By summer 2011 Norwegian intends to be operating 11 aircraft with Wi-Fi and by the end of the year it will have 21 aircraft equipped. At the end of 2012, some 40 Norwegian 737-800s will offer Wi-Fi.

"We are proud to be the first airline to offer this [Internet] service on European routes and are excited to offer this great service to our existing and new customers," says Sandaker-Nielsen.

Norwegian is the second European operator - after Lufthansa - to currently offer in-flight high-speed Internet to passengers, but the first to do so on intra-European routes.

Lufthansa, which offers a Panasonic Avionics-provided service on some overseas flights, will fit its long-haul fleet with the solution.