[Avionics Today July 23, 2014] Japan's third largest carrier, Skymark Airlines, will begin offering in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity to its passengers free of charge. Panasonic announced an agreement with Skymark to install its exConnect global connectivity service on Skymark's fleet of new Airbus A330s and A380s. Paul Margis, president and CEO of Panasonic said the airline will be adopting a "unique business model," by choosing to offer the service for free to passengers.
The new business model from Skymark should be interesting to monitor, especially with rival Japan Airlines (JAL) recently beginning flights with Gogo's in-flight service, which it will be charging passengers to use. According to a recent survey conducted by avionics manufacturer Honeywell, 85 percent of passengers said they would use Wi-Fi on most or all flights if it was free.
“Our customers love in-flight Wi-Fi, and today, we are taking a strategic step forward to ensure that our passengers can be both entertained and productive everywhere our aircraft fly," said Shinichi Nishikubo, president and CEO of Skymark Airlines.