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Inflight movie downloads are on the way
Streaming of films in mid-flight will start to become a reality for British Airways’ long-haul customers from next year.
A deal between the airline’s parent, IAG, and communications provider Gogo will enable high-speed inflight connectivity, using next generation satellite-based systems. IAG will be the first European airline group to adopt Gogo’s latest 2Ku technology.
Customers will be able to watch videos from Netflix, Amazon and similar suppliers with Wi-Fi connection speeds and bandwidth similar to those they are used to at home.
The first long-haul aircraft to be equipped with the technology, a British Airways Boeing 747-400, will be in service early next year. In total, 118 BA aircraft (plus four Aer Lingus and up to 15 Iberia long-haul aircraft) will be fitted with 2Ku.
Including the Aer Lingus and Iberia fleet already with connectivity, more than 90 per cent of IAG’s long-haul planes will offer high-quality Wi-Fi access by early 2019.
Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive, says: “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.”
“We believe this will be the fastest Wi-Fi in the air. You can have everyone on board using multiple devices and streaming. There’s nothing more frustrating for a customer than being told it’s there and you’re waiting there with your screen to upload or refresh.”
Michael Small, Gogo’s president and CEO said: “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 exploit advances in the Ku-band in the future. This means the technology will get even better over time and provide passengers with a superior connectivity technology now and in the future.”