100 new American Airlines planes to possess high-speed Internet accessibility

Published on : Friday, January 4, 2019

The 100 Airbus A321neo aircraft that American Airlines ordered years ago will be equipped with high-speed Internet capabilities.


The provider of the high-speed system, Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), announced it had scored the deal in its latest quarterly earnings report. The move for American Airlines Group Inc. (NASDAQ: AAL) is the latest step in improving its onboard Wi-Fi.


Mark Dankberg who is the chairman and CEO of Viasat asserted that they are extremely pleased to have been selected by American Airlines to outfit their new fleet of 100 A321neo aircraftAirlines have long offered Wi-Fi on flights, but it has  never been great.


That is because the Wi-Fi signal usually goes from the plane, to the ground, and then back up to the plane.


But a new wave of Wi-Fi systems which have signals that go from the plane, to satellites, and back to the plane are much faster and gaining market share with carriers.


American has fewer aircraft equipped with air-to-satellite capability compared with air-to-ground, but the disparity is shrinking.


In all, about 200 of the airline’s domestic narrow-body aircraft either have Viasat or Gogo 2Ku systems on them, an American spokesperson said. The split between the two system providers is about 100 each.


In its quarterly earnings report, California-based Viasat said it activated 122 aircraft with its system last quarter, and a majority of those were retrofits for American aircraft.


Viasat currently has 757 aircraft in service, with plans for another 854 aircraft (not counting the 100-aircraft deal it secured with American) under existing contracts.


Citing high fuel prices eating into 2018 earnings, American said earlier this year it would defer the delivery of 22 A321neos. The first one is still scheduled to be delivered early next year.

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