American Airlines Selects High-Speed ViaSat Wi-Fi for New Fleet of Boeing 737 Max Jets

By Paul Riegler on 5 June 2016
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AA2310FBT-1-2American Airlines announced it will add a third in-flight Internet supplier, ViaSat, when its new fleet of 100 Boeing 737 Max jets begins to go into service in 2017.

The 737s will offer ViaSat’s high-capacity Ka-band satellite system, which is significantly faster than the air-to-ground systems used by most airlines. The Ka-band service allows higher bandwidth communication, although it is more susceptible to a loss of signal strength in rainy conditions.

The service, which provides speeds of up to 12 Mbps to each passenger, will support the streaming of movies, videos, television programs, and music, video conferencing, uploading photos, sending and receiving large files, e-mail, and web surfing.

American was the first airline in the United States to offer in-flight Internet, starting in August 2008. It currently has 1,100 aircraft with Gogo Wi-Fi although in a filing with securities regulators Friday, Gogo said it “expects” the airline to drop the service “from time to time over the next several years.”

In an apparent jab at Gogo, ViaSat said “We believe we are now approaching the end of an era where passengers have paid very high prices for very slow connection.”

American said it does plan to use Gogo’s new 2Ku satellite service on 134 Airbus aircraft. The Fort Worth-based airline uses T-Mobile’s service for international flights.

“We are delighted and honored to have the opportunity to work with American Airlines and help fulfill their goal of delivering the best in-flight Wi-Fi experience throughout their fleet,” said Mark Dankberg, ViaSat’s CEO. The service “empowers innovative business models for airlines and their passengers” by providing an “at home” online experience while in the air, he added.

ViaSat, a fixed and mobile satellite network services company, received a license from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to operate its high-speed in-flight Internet service in 2013. JetBlue also uses the ViaSat service.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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