It was one of the worst kept secrets in the inflight connectivity world. Now it is no longer a secret. Air France finally confirmed that its single-aisle fleet will carry the Global Eagle Ku-band satellite system for its on board wifi service. The service will operate in partnership with French telecom carrier Orange. The first installation is believed to be on an A321 (F-GMZB); the plane has been in Toulouse nearly two months now for the work.
— Jason Rabinowitz (@AirlineFlyer) September 28, 2018
Of note, the Global Eagle solution will not offer a streaming connectivity package according to Air France; the Gogo 2Ku service on the long-haul fleet will deliver that as a higher priced option for passengers.
Air France indicated that it expects eight of the A320 family planes to be fitted by the end of the year. The rest of the fleet (along with the twin-aisle planes) targets complete installation by the end of 2020.
Global Eagle has touted this deal as more significant than its contract with Norwegian. The Air France single-aisle fleet is smaller than the Norwegian 737NG fleet flying the Global Eagle kit, but other terms of the contract could push the Air France deal over the top to a higher revenue number.
Global Eagle still has a pending contract with Jet Airways in India for hundreds of aircraft to be fitted, assuming the regulatory hurdles are cleared. It also has a significant, pending deal for service with a carrier in Southeast Asia that remains undisclosed.
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