There’s no better way to boost optimism in a market than to see a major deal signed. With more than 1,000 regional jets in North America poised to upgrade their in-flight internet service in the coming years, Intelsat scored a major win, signing Alaska Airlines up for a new satellite-based solution on the Embraer E175 fleet.
There’s this huge group of airplanes in the US that need an upgrade and it’s a bit of a battle over who can get their act together fastest and with the most credibility to pull it off. The first deal is not the last deal. We need all these deals to come together with all the airlines, but I’m really excited about the fact that Alaska felt good enough to take a first step with us.– Dave Bijur, Intelsat
Both Intelsat’s Dave Bijur and Stellar Blu‘s Tracey Trent described this deal as “breaking a log jam in the market,” teeing up the rest of the regional jet operators to make a decision. Bijur notes that “all of those aircraft have our stuff on it today, the legacy ATG gear,” and sees that as a strong starting point for conversations with the airlines.
Trent similarly notes the airlines “clearly want to do something” to upgrade those aircraft, “making sure the passenger experience is the same as on their mainline aircraft.”
Bijur also sees the multi-orbit, multi-constellation approach as critical for delivering reliable service across the entire market footprint, though one of the advantages Intelsat highlighted with the Alaska Airlines deal may not carry over as well to the others.
There’s more to the story…Dig deeper with a PaxEx.Aero Premium Subscription
Regardless of which antenna and satellite constellations are selected, it is clear the next generation of connectivity for regional jets will be a step change from the current offerings. And there’s probably room enough in the market for multiple players to succeed.
More on IFC’s recent evolution:
- Zipair pick SpaceX Starlink for IFC update
- Delta confirms fleet-wide commitment to Viasat inflight internet
- Alaska Airlines picks Intelsat for E175 streaming WiFi upgrade
- AirBaltic picks Starlink for inflight internet
- Is Allegiant ready to add inflight WiFi?
- Intelsat goes multi-orbit with OneWeb LEO option for airlines
A favor to ask while you're here...
Did you enjoy the content? Or learn something useful? Or generally just think this is the type of story you'd like to see more of? Consider supporting the site through a donation (any amount helps). It helps keep me independent and avoiding the credit card schlock.