American Airlines Expanding In-Flight WiFi to Its New Boeing 737 Jets
About 100 of the latest Boeing 737 MAX jets will get in-flight WiFi from ViaSat, which is a competitor of the Gogo WiFi used in other jets.American Airlines will outfit its new Boeing 737 MAX jet fleet with satellite WiFi Internet services from ViaSat, which the companies say will provide users with in-flight WiFi experiences that are comparable to their in-home services. The deal, which was announced by the companies on June 3, will allow American Airlines passengers to use their smartphones, tablets and portable computers to access the Internet and stream movies, videos, television and music, as well as upload pictures to social media, email large files and more, according to American and ViaSat. "The new American planes will tap into the power of ViaSat's advanced high capacity Ka-band satellite system, which will include ViaSat-1, ViaSat-2 and ViaSat-3 satellite platforms, and has more capacity in orbit than any other in-flight WiFi provider," according to ViaSat. "American will leverage ViaSat's first two generation satellite platforms" for now, and then will gain the capacity of the upcoming ViaSat-3 class satellite platform, which is expected to launch in 2019. Using the ViaSat systems, the company says it will "be able to deliver the fastest, highest quality in-flight internet service to each connected device on a plane." The upcoming Boeing 737 MAX aircraft with the ViaSat in-flight internet system are scheduled to begin to go into service in September 2017. ViaSat today provides Internet services to nearly 700,000 residential and business users via high-speed satellite connections, according to the company. The ViaSat network also today provides connections to thousands of simultaneously connected aircraft, each with dozens to hundreds of connected devices.
"Our satellite bandwidth enables an 'at home' Internet experience that can serve everyone on the plane and empowers innovative business models for airlines and their passengers," Mark Dankberg, the chairman and CEO of ViaSat, said in a statement. "We are delighted and honored to have the opportunity to work with American Airlines and help fulfill their goal of delivering the best in-flight WiFi experience throughout their fleet. We believe we are now approaching the end of an era where passengers have paid very high prices for very slow connections. Our agreement highlights a significant initial step for American to deliver an onboard WiFi experience every passenger will want to use."