Saudi Arabia’s first air-to-ground inflight internet service is now online, thanks to Saudia, Skyfive, CITC, STC, and Eclipse Global Connectivity.
AirAsia selected the AirFi wireless platform to boost inflight retail sales and entertainment options on board. The carrier has long offered a digital on-board experience across parts of its fleet. Plus, a few other airline customers coming online.
The first plane is fitted and flying. The new SpaceX Starlink inflight connectivity system on JSX works, and the companies are excited to deploy it fleet wide. Alas, it does not appear they will meet the target timeline of having the system fully installed before the end of the year. The necessary Supplemental Type Certification (STC) remains pending with the authorities.
Last week Panasonic Avionics finally confirmed low earth orbit constellations are officially part of its product road map, in partnership with OneWeb. This week at the APEX EXPO conference in Long Beach, California the company is offering up additional details on how the new capacity will fit into its offerings, and how it expects planes will be connected to the new satellites.
Inflight internet provider Anuvu wants to boost Ka-band connectivity. The company’s Dual-Panel Ka-Band Inflight Connectivity Antenna System (DPSAA) solution launches at APEX EXPO this week, offering increased capacity to the aircraft, especially at higher latitudes, thanks to an extra aperture under the radome.
Panasonic Avionics (PAC) will add low earth orbit satellites to its inflight internet offerings, thanks to a partnership with OneWeb. The long-expected distribution agreement will enable PAC to market, sell, and support OneWeb’s high-speed, low-latency LEO in-flight broadband services to commercial airlines worldwide.
Can you have a continuous inflight internet connection, even when the link between an aircraft and the ground occasionally breaks? This question is one of several at the crux of the SmartSky/Gogo patent dispute. And as SmartSky appeals the ruling from earlier late last month denying it a preliminary injunction, this technical nuance takes the spotlight.
Regional jets, for the most part, do not offer satellite-based internet services on board. The hardware is typically considered too large for the fuselage, and too heavy for the smaller planes. But it is not impossible. And another carrier now seems to be trying it out.
Airlines should not expect their inflight connectivity solutions to be profitable. At least not directly so. And Air Canada seems OK with that situation, finding other ways to justify the proposition.
For nearly a decade the promise of reduced maintenance delays and operational savings has been a core factor in pitching airlines on inflight internet service. And for roughly that same period of time airlines have been wondering if those connected aircraft benefits will ever really arrive.