Transport Airlines

JetBlue Begins Fleetwide Installation of Super Fast In-Flight Wi-Fi


Sep 04, 2013 9:28 am

Skift Take

Expectations are high for the industry shattering speed of JetBlue’s Wi-Fi service, but cost still keeps many flyers from purchasing the service. Installation is more of an industry standards than a profitable venture at this point.

— Samantha Shankman

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Lucas Jackson  / Reuters

A JetBlue Airways plane awaits take off while at LaGuardia Airport in New York April 5, 2012. Lucas Jackson / Reuters

JetBlue can offer flyers in-flight Wi-Fi for the first time, possibly as soon as next month.

JetBlue successfully tested its next-generation Wi-Fi service, provide by ViaSat’s Ka-band satellite, earlier this summer. The last step to installation was FAA approval.

Yesterday, the FAA gave the airline the green light to immediately begin Wi-Fi installation when it issued a Supplemental Type Certificate for JetBlue’s Airbus A320 fleet.

Installation will begin with the A320s and expand to include smaller Embraer jets. Wi-Fi will be installed on a number of aircraft before the end of the year, JetBlue COO Robin Hayes said in a statement.

JetBlue is one of the only major U.S. airlines that doesn’t offer Wi-Fi on at least a few flights, but it may prove to be worth the wait. JetBlue is positioning its “Fly-Fi service” as the fastest on the market.

ViaSat’s Ka-band satellite, which broke the Guinness World Record for highest-capacity satellite, has proven to be far faster than existing in-flight services provided by Gogo, Row 44, and Panasonic.

The service uses satellite-based connectivity, which is more seamless and speedy than competitors’ ground-based systems.

The below video, posted by JetBlue, compares the time it takes the four services to load 10 web pages in flight. Exede represents JetBlue’s service.

JetBlue signed a contract with Aviation Technical Services to install the Wi-Fi technology, which was designed by LiveTV.

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