Czech Airlines Technics Finalizes Cabin Modification and Connectivity Installation Project for FinnAir

Oct. 18, 2019

Prague, 17 October 2019 - Czech Airlines Technics (CSAT) has successfully completed a two-year cabin modification and Wi-Fi network installation project for Finnair’s Airbus narrow-body aircraft. Finnair is one of CSAT’s long-term Base Maintenance division clients. Throughout the course of the project, CSAT employees completed the cabin modification and connectivity installation on altogether 24 Finnair aircraft in Hangar F at Václav Havel Airport Prague. As a result, all aircraft have new cabin configurations and layout and Finnair customers can access internet and Finnair’s complimentary on board Nordic Sky Portal during the flight. This was the industry’s first connectivity retrofit with the aircraft manufacturer, Airbus.

During the work performed in Prague, the aircraft underwent a modification of the cabin, called ‘Spaceflex’, consisting of the cabin reconstruction, increasing the number of passenger seats, and replacements of the galleys and lavatories. At the same time, CSAT workers had to reinforce the fuselage to install the satellite antenna and its cover on top of the fuselage and distribute cables throughout the aircraft, including the cockpit and passenger cabin. Subsequently, a wireless internet connection was launched and tested on board the aircraft. During the flight, the antenna on the fuselage receives a signal from the satellite, which is distributed to passengers’ electronic devices via Wi-Fi Access Points located in several places around the cabin.

“Since it was a prototype installation and modification, we worked very closely with Airbus and Finnair for several months before starting the job, and the support and collaboration by the Finnair project team was invaluable. As with any large projects, everything from planning and logistics to implementation needed sorting. Alongside the favourable revision turnaround time, location and experience of our employees, bespoke solutions are among the competitive advantages of Czech Airlines Technics in the aircraft maintenance market segment, greatly appreciated by our customers. We would like to thank all our employees who participated in this demanding project,” Pavel Hales, Chairman of the Czech Airlines Technics Board of Directors, said, adding: "I am pleased that we can present the completion of this long-term significant project together during the largest aircraft maintenance fair, the MRO Europe, organised this year in London." A special video was created during the modification, which will be shown at the CSAT booth (#1350) at MRO Europe in London for the first time and is also available on YouTube.

”The project increased the seating capacity of our Airbus narrow-body aircraft, and brought best-in-market internet connectivity to our customers, thus supporting both our growth and customer experience targets”, says Juha Ojala, VP Technical Services, Finnair.  “A tight collaboration between the CSAT, Airbus and Finnair teams was crucial for the project’s success.”

The cabin modification and wireless internet installation jobs were performed on Airbus A319, A320 and A321 aircraft from July 2017 until the end of August this year. In turns, almost all Airbus A320 Family aircraft from the Finnair’s fleet thus passed through the doors of Hangar F in Prague. Engineers, avionics, mechanics and other specialists worked on this project uninterruptedly, processing up to two aircraft at the same time during last year. As it was a very demanding project, the preparatory stage comprised over six months. The CSAT team worked directly with colleagues from Finnair and Airbus, as well as with technology and parts suppliers - ViaSat for the Internet Connectivity and Zodiac for the seats. Representatives of all companies were present in person during several installations throughout the implementation phase.

Alongside the cabin modifications and installations of Wi-Fi connection, regular aircraft base maintenance work was performed to most efficiently use the aircraft downtime.

Czech Airlines Technics employees worked on unique projects in the past, for example during the modification of Split Scimitar Winglets of Boeing 737NG aircraft, performed by Czech Airlines Technics as the first company in continental Europe, and during the Sharklet modifications of Airbus A320 aircraft.