International Airlines Group (IAG) has reached agreement with Gogo to provide high-speed inflight connectivity on longhaul flights using next generation satellite-based systems.
In total, 118 British Airways, four Aer Lingus B757s and up to 15 Iberia longhaul aircraft will be fitted with 2Ku. This is in addition to the existing Iberia and Aer Lingus’ A330 fleets which have Panasonic GCS connectivity.
By early 2019, 90 per cent of IAG airlines’ longhaul fleet will be fitted with high quality connectivity. This will provide faster inflight Wi-Fi broadband access throughout the flight.
IAG will be the first European airline group to use Gogo’s latest technology called 2Ku.
2Ku is next-generation technology that provides consistent, uninterrupted coverage nearly anywhere in the world, including over oceans.It will offer passengers improved capacity to stream videos from suppliers such as Netflix and Amazon. They will be able to use multiple devices at the same time and connection speeds, as well as bandwidth, will be similar to what they have at home.
The first longhaul aircraft equipped with Gogo’s 2Ku inflight connectivity – a British Airways B747-400 – will be in service early 2017. Iberia and Aer Lingus will see their first A330-300 and B757 aircraft fitted with 2Ku later in 2017.
In addition to providing faster access to web-based services, passengers will enjoy more entertainment options throughout their entire journey. In the future, inflight Wi-Fi will also transform the duty free experience allowing passengers to order from their phones and tablets and arrange for items purchased on board to be delivered to their homes.
The deal could cost about £250,000 per aircraft.
The service is likely to be free to passengers in a basic form, with fees charged for premium services.
Willie Walsh, IAG’s chief executive:
“This state of the art technology will provide greater bandwidth, faster speed and broader coverage to our airlines’ customers. Global connectivity is something they demand and we are providing high-quality connections with innovative technology solutions to improve the travel experience.”
Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO:
“We are delighted to bring Gogo’s industry leading 2Ku technology to three of the most iconic brands in commercial aviation. 2Ku is delivering a ground-like performance to aircraft flying around the world today. But, one of the many benefits of our 2Ku technology is that it’s built on an open architecture and can leverage numerous Ku satellites around the world today and new advancements in the Ku-band coming online in the future. This means the technology will get even better over time and will provide passengers with a superior connectivity technology now and in the future.”
The announcement comes just one day after Delta announced it increased its commitment to Gogo’s 2Ku solution, boosting its planned rollout to by at least 350 aircraft. This brings Delta’s total 2Ku commitment to more than 600 aircraft in its mainline fleet. Delta partner, Virgin Atlantic, will be one of the first airlines to offer Gogo 2Ku, with installations already ongoing.
AeroMexico launched the 2Ku service in late April.
N.B. Image credit: British Airways