JetBlue, Aviation Technical Services sign agreement to install Wi-Fi connectivity on 130 Airbus aircraft
JetBlue Airways has signed a contract with Aviation Technical Services (ATS) for the Washington state-based company to install super-fast next-generation Ka-band satellite Wi-Fi technology on JetBlue's fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft.
Fly-Fi, JetBlue's brand for wireless inflight internet, will use satellite-based connectivity.
"We are pleased to enter into this partnership with ATS, a proven MRO leader who shares our passion and excitement for this project," said Jeff Martin, senior vice president of operations for JetBlue. "Jointly, we will aggressively modify the majority of our A320 fleet with the Fly-Fi solution while we continue to work with LiveTV to add Ka broadband onboard connectivity to the remainder of our aircraft," added Martin.
Ka-band is the next generation of high-bandwidth satellite technology, with eight times more bandwidth than Ku-band. Ka-band satellites are better suited to support high-throughput capacity that cannot be met by more congested Ku-band frequencies. Ka-band also allows smaller end-user antennas.
"This is an important step toward putting Wi-Fi in all of our aircraft," said JetBlue senior vice president of marketing and commercial strategy Marty St. George. "The ATS relationship will allow JetBlue to speed Fly-Fi introduction throughout our fleet," added St. George.
"All of us at LiveTV are excited to see this LiveTV designed system reach the installation stage," said Chris Collins, chief operating officer of LiveTV. "Thirteen years ago we revolutionized the inflight entertainment experience with the launch of DirecTV on JetBlue, and now our Ka-connectivity experience will revolutionize the aviation connectivity experience onboard aircraft."
"We are proud to have this opportunity to support such a customer-focused airline such as JetBlue and we look forward to growing our relationship over the coming years," said Matt Yerbic, ATS President and CEO. "This agreement further extends our services to Airbus operators in North America and around the world," added Yerbic.
The agreement covers up to 130 A320 aircraft at ATS's maintenance facility in Everett, Washington.
Additional Ka-band installations will be accomplished at JetBlue's LiveTV subsidiary in Orlando. The technology was designed by LiveTV, which will be conducting training and technical support to ATS to ensure a quality installation. All Airbus A320 installations are expected to be completed by the end of 2014.