Nearly three years after the infrastructure build-out completed and two years after the service launched on aircraft, British Airways completed the installation and activation of the EAN in-flight connectivity offering on its short-haul fleet.
First activated in March 2019, the European Aviation Network, powered by Inmarsat, depends mostly on terrestrial cellular connections to the aircraft, delivered by Deutsche Telekom. At that time the airline hoped to quickly deploy the service across its single-aisle Airbus fleet More than 100 aircraft were anticipated online by the end of 2019. It touted the smaller, lighter antennae systems relative to traditional satellite-based services are part of its advantage on that front.
What slowed the process is unclear. The EAN system also rolled out on Vueling and on Iberia‘s A320 family aircraft in that time frame. In early 2020 I was able to put the system through its paces on a Vueling aircraft.
Completing the deployment opens up significant opportunities for the airline in terms of advertising the services to passengers. Multiple airlines have stated an unwillingness to advertise the offerings unless they can guarantee the aircraft flying that day will have the system on board.
And with BA’s push towards pre-selling more ancillary options, including food and in-flight shopping, the opportunity to also sell a flight connection pass opens up. Or to sell a monthly subscription. Or myriad other opportunities.
And nearly all of them should be good news for passengers.
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