Delta Air Lines has selected Viasat IFC services for its widebody fleets, including all active aircraft in its Airbus A330, Airbus A350, and Boeing 767 fleets, totaling more than 1,000 aircraft. In addition to previously announced mainline fleets, the Airbus A220 and upcoming deliveries on the Boeing 737 MAX will be outfitted and serviced by Viasat.
Bhutan Airlines picks AirFi for A319s
Photo credit: Bhutan Airlines
Bhutan Airlines, which operates daily scheduled flights to six international destinations from its base at Paro Airport in Bhutan, has selected AirFi to provide wireless inflight entertainment for passengers flying onboard its Airbus A319-100 aircraft. Passengers on all Bhutan Airlines flights can now watch Hollywood and regional film, television series, documentary content a moving flight map and a selection of music and magazines using their own Wi-Fi enabled mobile devices.
Air Malta selects Bluebox for A320neos
Photo credit: Air Malta
Air Malta selected Bluebox Aviation Systems to deploy a Blueview digital passenger IFE experience on the Malta flag carrier’s new Airbus A320 neo aircraft that includes entertainment, moving map, games, etc. It will be deployed on a linefit Airbus Airspace Link installation. This new aircraft is expected to be delivered to Air Malta in March, and the Blueview digital passenger experience will be live for passengers when the aircraft enters service.
Delta partners with Touch IFE technology
Photo credit: Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines and Touch Inflight Solutions started a new partnership early this year to solve content bottlenecks for the Atlanta-based carrier, allowing the delivery of next-generation content experiences to passengers across 145,000+ seatback screens.
Touch will provide a full scope of services—including automated media management, content licensing & analytics, media processing & delivery, and ongoing enablement of innovation—and leverage their suite of digital media tools to help Delta and their in-house teams deliver the next generation of inflight entertainment (IFE) to its passengers with greater efficiency than ever before.
Alaska Airlines upgrades E175 Wi-Fi with Intelsat
Photo credit: Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines will offer streaming-fast satellite Wi-Fi on its regional jet Embraer 175 fleet, provided by Intelsat. The new, faster service will utilize an electronically steered array (ESA), which is a small, lighter weight antenna with no moving parts. In an industry first, Intelsat's new system will communicate with both traditional geostationary (GEO) satellites and new low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. With an additional $25 million investment, Alaska Airlines said this upgrade represents a “major step forward in the travel experience for our guests, enabling higher speeds and more coverage in the air, particularly across areas in the state of Alaska.”
The new system will debut on Horizon Air in early 2024 and roll out across Alaska’s regional jet fleet, including partner SkyWest, over a two-year period. With nearly all Alaska’s mainline fleet set to feature satellite Wi-Fi by this April—also installed by Intelsat—Alaska is on track to provide consistent streaming-fast Wi-Fi across its entire fleet by 2026.
West Entertainment to provide IFE for Porter Airlines
Photo credit: Porter Airlines
West Entertainment (West) announced today that it has been selected by Canadian regional Porter Airlines (Porter) as its inflight entertainment (IFE) Content Service Provider.
The partnership will cover the provision of IFE on Porter’s Embraer 195-E2 fleet equipped with Viasat’s Wireless Streaming system, starting Feb.1, 2023. As a result, Porter said its guests will now enjoy not only connectivity, but access to the latest Hollywood and Canadian content.
AirBaltic to equip fleet with SpaceX Starlink
Photo credit: airBaltic
Latvian airline airBaltic will equip its entire Airbus A220-300 fleet with SpaceX’s Starlink internet connectivity system. Every passenger will benefit from complimentary, in-flight high-speed internet access during all airBaltic flights without hassles or login pages.
Developed by SpaceX, Starlink provides high-speed, low-latency broadband internet in over 40 countries and counting around the world and began serving commercial aircraft last year with in-flight high-speed internet. With satellites positioned in low-Earth orbit at an altitude of 550 km, over 65 times closer than conventional geostationary satellites, Starlink achieves significantly lower latency and higher transmission speeds for its end users. Starlink can deliver up to 350 Mbps to aircraft, and with latency as low as 20 ms, passengers can engage in activities previously not functional in flight, including online gaming, virtual private networks, and other high data rate activities.
Bamboo Airways awards IFE contract to Images in Motion
Photo credit: Bamboo Airways
Vietnamese carrier Bamboo Airways has selected Images In Motion its contract for providing IFE content services. Images In Motion will be providing a broad range of content across Bamboo Airways’ fleet. The content catalog features the latest Hollywood releases, Classic movies, Asian movies, and hours of TV programs, as well as an extensive array of local Vietnamese and Western music.
Emirates selects Inmarsat’s GX Aviation for A350 IFE
Photo credit: Emirates Airline
Emirates has chosen Inmarsat’s GX Aviation as its inflight broadband system for the airline’s incoming fleet of Airbus A350s. The airline said Jan 12 that the system would provide passengers with greater connectivity and coverage, even over Arctic regions.
The Dubai-based carrier has ordered 50 A350-900s for delivery from 2024. The A350s will be the first Emirates aircraft to use Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellite network, which powers what the satellite services company describes as the world’s first globally available broadband network.
Delta, T-Mobile introduce free Wi-Fi
Photo credit: Delta Air Lines
Delta will offer fast, free Wi-Fi in partnership with T-Mobile to all customers on board most domestic mainline flights beginning Feb. 1—the first major US airline to offer free Wi-Fi as a core element of its customer experience. The Atlanta-based airline will offer the service on more than 700 Viasat-equipped aircraft by the end of 2023. Delta also announced plans to bring free Wi-Fi on international and regional aircraft by the end of 2024.
Sichuan Airlines partners with Viasat IFC
Photo credit: Viasat
China’s Sichuan Airlines has partnered with AeroSat Link Technology Co. and Viasat for inflight connectivity (IFC) technology and equipment on its Airbus A320 family of aircraft. When in service, the Viasat terminal installed on the aircraft will connect to China Satcom’s Ka-band satellite network and AeroSat Link’s digital IFC service to provide IFC service to passengers and crew.
New inflight entertainment technologies are rapidly evolving to deliver much more than passive entertainment as innovative onboard trends try to keep up with passenger demand for the same connectivity they have on the ground.
Linda Blachly is Senior Associate Editor for Air Transport World and Aviation Week. She joined the company in July 2010 and is responsible for producing features for Air Transport World’s monthly magazine and engaging content for the aviationweek.com. She is based in the Washington DC office.