Friday 30 September 2022, JW Marriott Grosvenor
November 2022, Virtual
21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
American Airlines antenna
American Airlines (AA) and Southwest Airlines are both on the verge of testing their respective technologies to provide passengers with broadband connectivity on board flights.
AA has completed the first aircraft installation of Aircell technology at its Kansas City maintenance base, and plans to test it this year on transcontinental flights pending certifications from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). It would not reveal specific dates.
It appears its system ” to be installed on 15 AA Boeing 767-200 aircraft this year ” will only work on domestic flights, using three lightweight antennae installed on aircraft which will pick up a 3MHz signal transmitted from 92 cellular towers throughout the continent.
AA claims it will be ”the first airline to offer customers internet connectivity” at speeds similar to usual broadband services.
It will include VPN (virtual private network) access ” which will provide entry to corporate intranets - and email capabilities through all Wi-Fi enabled laptops, PDAs (personal, digital assistants) and portable gaming devices.
”Connectivity is important to our business customers and those who want to use their PDA”s and laptops for real time,” said AA executive vice president-marketing, Dan Garton.
Connectivity will be offered in all classes of service on the B767-200 aircraft for a fee, which AA has not yet specified. If trials on the B767 aircraft are successful, the carrier could extend Aircell”s service to the remainder of its domestic fleet.
Meanwhile Southwest claims it will be the ”first US carrier to test satellite-delivered broadband” on aircraft, also offering Wi-Fi-enabled devices high-speed internet access.
Partnering with California-based Row 44, it hopes to test its system on four aircraft this summer, and says it is cost effective as it uses existing satellite networks.
”We intend to deliver the highest bandwidth available to commercial airlines in the US,” said Southwest Airlines senior vice president of marketing, Dave Ridley. ”Our selection of satellite technology will offer a more robust experience for more customers per aircraft than other solutions available in the marketplace.”