More than a dozen Azul aircraft now offer free in-flight wifi service on board. The company aims to expand that to more than 100 planes in its fleet as part of a deal announced in 2019 with Viasat to deliver satellite-based connectivity to passengers.
Fifteen of the carrier’s A320neo and A321neo aircraft carry the kit today. Two Embraer E195-E2s also have the hardware installed. These are the first aircraft of Embraer’s newest model flying with the Viasat in-flight internet option.
The free service plan on board includes access to general web browsing, social media, and messaging services. This compares favorably to Azul’s competition in the domestic market.
- GOL offers free in-flight messaging on its planes connected via the 2Ku system. Web browsing or streaming passes require additional payment.
- LATAM‘s Brazil unit is the only subset of the carrier’s fleet offering WiFi on board, also running on the 2Ku platform.
The offering leverages Telebras’s SGDC (Geostationary Satellite for Defense and Strategic Communications) Ka-band satellite. Viasat also uses that satellite for its terrestrial hotspot services in the Brazilian market.
Viasat plans to increase available capacity in the near future with the launch of its first ViaSat-3 satellite. That satellite was recently delivered to Boeing for integration ahead of launch early in 2022.
In addition to Azul’s plans to install the Viasat solution, KLM also announced its E2 fleet would come online with the Viasat kit. That carrier’s first 737s now have the system installed but not its brand new E2s. With the Azul installations completed, however, KLM should be in a position to fit its planes soon.
The company’s previously announced roadmap suggests the E195-E2 and A320neo family aircraft will be fitted with Ka-band satellite connectivity service. Additional installations beyond these initially fitted aircraft are ongoing.
Azul also offers live television on board its older aircraft. Those planes are not currently slated to receive the in-flight connectivity upgrade.
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