LATAM will extend its in-flight WiFi portfolio across all its A320 family planes, thanks to a new deal with Intelsat. The company expects to install the 2Ku system across up to 160 existing and new aircraft in the years ahead.
We aim to deliver the best connectivity service experience in the region using Intelsat’s 2Ku system.– LATAM’s Vice President of Clients, Paulo Miranda
The move will eventually see LATAM’s entire single-aisle fleet connected with the 2Ku solution. The company’s Brazilian sub-fleet flies with the gear installed today. VP Clients Paulo Miranda notes that now is the time to extend that passenger experience to the Spanish speaking portion of the company’s portfolio.
The work includes retrofit of existing aircraft, as well as installation on new deliveries. The companies make a point to note that the 2Ku gear will be installed on the assembly line for the new deliveries. Gaining access to the line-fit option at Airbus was a major milestone for the 2Ku solution, made public just 14 months ago.
The installation work is expected to complete in three years.
“At Intelsat, our mission is to provide quality, reliable connectivity for work and entertainment which is essential for airline partners and passengers alike,” commented Dave Bijur, senior vice president of Commercial for Intelsat Commercial Aviation. “LATAM is an important customer to us and we look forward to providing their passengers across South America with the exceptional customer service not just today and tomorrow but for decades to come.”
The Thinkom antenna system is a compelling offering, particularly in the equatorial region where its tighter beam focus helps prevent skew angle issues. But other vendors now also have access to the Thinkom options, albeit typically in Ka-band rather than Ku-band. Another factor likely at play is the ease of working with a single vendor for integration across all the single-aisle planes for a consistency of passenger experience. While mix-and-match can also work, it typically requires more effort on the part of the airline. As LATAM emerges from bankruptcy, keeping the operations simple is not a bad idea.
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