British Airways owner, International Airlines Group (IAG) has confirmed that it will begin providing Wi-Fi across its short- haul fleets from 2017.
This follows similar moves from other airlines and according to passenger survey conducted on behalf of satellite broadband provider Inmarsat travellers will increasingly demand in-flight broadband.
In one ranking Virgin America was ranked highest for in-flight broadband with nearly 100 percent of flight miles including Wi-Fi.
Leo Mondale, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “After several years of detailed planning and development, this is the moment that Inmarsat, and indeed the global aviation industry, has been waiting for. GX for Aviation is now live and offering unparalleled in-flight broadband to passengers. We have moved from systems integration and testing to rolling out the most robust and comprehensive global connectivity solution for airlines across the world.”
The company was awarded a contract in October 2015 to provide in-flight connectivity services for passengers onboard Lufthansa’s European continental fleet of more than 150 aircraft.
Inmarsat, which will also provide the BA service, has said it will install its European Aviation Network (EAN) high-speed, inflight passenger connectivity service on up to 341 of its narrowbody aircraft across all of the groups airlines.
EAN is a combined-connectivity platform, which will provide broadband connectivity of quality and speed to airline passengers flying anywhere in Europe.
The network will seamlessly combine Inmarsat’s new dedicated S-band satellite with a new 4G LTE mobile terrestrial network.
The 341 IAG short-haul aircraft will include 132 from British Airways, 125 from Vueling, 45 from Iberia and 39 from Aer Lingus.
Inmarsat also reported a rise of 5.8 percent in third-quarter revenue, which was significantly boosted by its increasing demand to provide Wi-Fi services to airlines.
Its total revenue increased up to $18.8 million, with the revenue guidance for 2016 remaining unchanged at $1,175-1,250 million.