Advanced Television

Intelsat upgrades Alaska Airlines IFC

January 26, 2023

By Chris Forrester

Alaska Airlines says it will upgrade its fleet of Embraer E175 regional jets using Intelsat’s In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) broadband solution.

Intelsat is already supplying Alaska with its IFC equipment on its Boeing 737MAX fleet. Intelsat bought Gogo Commercial Aviation in December 2020.

The new contract is worth about $25 million in upgrade costs, and will debut in 2024 and used on Alaska’s sister airline Horizon Air. The new satellite system will replace existing technology that relies on ground antennas for WiFi service in regional aircraft.

Costs for passengers to access the service are said to be about C$8 per flight. Intelsat will use its own geostationary satellites and also tap into OneWeb for its low Earth orbiting satellites.

Alaska Airlines and Intelsat say the shift to satellites will enable WiFi service on aircraft in remote areas such as the state of Alaska, in addition to significantly improving internet latency and throughput.

It will allow passengers to stream video and other applications requiring high-speed internet, they say, with the ability to use the service immediately after boarding rather than waiting for the boarding doors to close.

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