Fast in-flight internet – along with online bells and whistles such as Skype, FaceTime and Netflix – are coming to British Airways and other airlines in the same stable from 2017.
British Airways’ parent company IAG has signed a deal with Chicago-based Gogo to bring Wi-Fi onto its long haul flights, becoming first European airline group to commit to Gogo’s 2Ku technology. Delta has already signed a similar deal with Gogo, a company that specialises in providing broadband connectivity and wireless entertainment to the aviation industry.
Gogo will install its 2Ku technology on 118 British Airways planes, four Aer Lingus B757s and up to 15 Iberia long-haul aircraft.
The fleet of Gogo-installed aircraft will include numerous long-haul aircraft types, including the B787 and A380, a Gogo statement said.
“We are delighted to bring Gogo’s industry leading 2Ku technology to three of the most iconic brands in commercial aviation,” Michael Small, Gogo’s president and chief executive announced.
“2Ku is delivering a ground-like performance to aircraft flying around the world today. But one of the many benefits of 2Ku is that it’s built on an open architecture and can leverage numerous Ku satellites around the world today and new advancements in the Ku-band coming online in the future. This means the technology will get even better over time and will provide passengers with a superior connectivity experience now and in the future.”
The first British Airways aircraft is expected to be in service early next year, with the bulk of installations likely to be completed by 2019.
Gogo has partnerships with 15 commercial airlines and is installed on more than 2500 commercial aircraft and over 6800 business aircraft.
Delta’s total number of 2Ku committed aircraft now tops 600. 2Ku installation has already started on Delta’s B737-800 and A319 fleets, and additional Delta aircraft types will be retrofitted with the new system. Delta will operate more than 35 aircraft with 2Ku by the end of this year.
Fast internet is gaining traction in international transport systems, on both air and sea. Just last week, Royal Caribbean International announced it will install what it terms the fastest internet at sea throughout its fleet of 24 ships – including the local Australian fleet when the ships return for summer. See: RCI to install ‘fastest internet’ throughout whole fleet.
Written by Peter Needham