Air Canada‘s A321 fleet will soon fly with the Intelsat 2Ku in-flight internet solution. Under the agreement the carrier will upgrade its offering for 15 existing aircraft, while also taking 15 new deliveries with the system installed from the Airbus factory in Hamburg.
Millions of Intelsat inflight internet sessions have been delivered to Air Canada’s passengers throughout our nine-plus year relationship. We are delighted to grow our satellite connectivity service with Intelsat to provide our passengers with expanded inflight connectivity.– Senior Vice President of Products, Marketing and e-commerce at Air Canada, Mark Nasr
The existing A321ceo aircraft in the fleet currently fly with the legacy Gogo air-to-ground system installed. This offering is generally insufficient to meet the demands of the larger aircraft and associated passenger count. With the upgrade Air Canada will now be able to deliver a more compelling connectivity solution to customers.
The 2Ku solution uses the ThinKom ThinAir Ku3030 antenna offering. It is a proven solution, with more than a thousand aircraft installations and millions of hours in the air. Even with the A321XLR deliveries slated for a couple years out, the carrier chose to stick with that proven technology rather than betting on a newer electronically steered antenna model. This is likely motivated, in part, on the ability to have the gear installed on the Airbus final assembly line. Consistency of hardware across a broad swath of the fleet – Air Canada already has 2Ku on most of its mainline fleet – also helps.
Read more: ThinKom targets regional jets with smaller antenna solution
Air Canada also points out that all the retrofit work will be completed in Canada. The company’s 737 MAX fleet is in the process of being fitted with the Thales Ka-band connectivity solution. That work is occurring in Melbourne, Florida. Generally speaking, the Canadian airlines are keen to see upgrades performed on their aircraft at home wherever feasible.
Looking to the future, ThinKom successfully tested the ThinAir antenna line for connections to non-geosynchronous satellites. Should Intelsat formalize a distribution agreement with a LEO operator the system should be able to support those connections, though questions remain about speed of satellite switching and intermittent interruptions to service during the handoffs.
Read More: Air Canada brings 2Ku online for intercontinental flights
The companies announced the deal at Aircraft Interiors Expo 2022 in Hamburg last week.
More news from Aircraft Interiors Expo 2022
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- Air Canada selects Intelsat 2Ku for A321 internet service
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