A total of 2.6 million devices connected to Etihad Airway’s in-flight mobile network in 2014, according to new figures.
In-flight texts and mobile phone calls increased by 62% and 61% respectively over the previous year.
Overall usage of the airline’s Wi-Fi service rose 80% year-on-year, as more people use their personal devices for work and entertainment when travelling.
The most popular operating system on board was iOS with 55% of the airline’s passengers connecting to the internet with iPads and iPhones, while 30% used devices running on Android’s operating system.
The data emerged ahead of the UAE carrier becoming one of the few airlines in the world to offer fleet-wide inflight connectivity services from next month.
Etihad Airways’ Live TV service is seeing an average of 50,000 hours of live news and sporting events being viewed each month.
The airline’s ‘connected’ fleet comprises 92 aircraft including 29 Airbus A319/320/321s, 26 A330s, 11 A340s, one A380, 24 Boeing 777s and a 787 Dreamliner. All aircraft due for delivery this year will also be equipped with in-flight connectivity.
Packages to access the internet start at $5 while mobile telephone usage is billed by the user’s mobile service provider based on international roaming rates.
Peter Baumgartner, chief commercial officer of Etihad, said: “We continue to redefine our guests’ air travel experience with innovative products and services, the latest communication technology and entertainment systems that best fit their needs.
“When people travel, they want to stay connected with their work, their friends and their family. They also want to be kept up-to-date with 24 hour world news services. This is now possible for the entire journey on an Etihad Airways flight.”