Air Canada adds in-flight Wi-Fi to North American fleet

Air Canada claims it will become the first Canadian carrier to offer passengers on-board internet access when it starts rolling out Wi-Fi connectivity across its North American fleet in May.

In-flight connectivity specialist, Gogo, will provide the service with future type-testing of Gogo satellite systems for Wi-Fi on international flights expected to be conducted in 2015. The results will help determine future connectivity options that can be considered as the technology continues to evolve.

"Air Canada continually seeks to enhance the travel experience and that is why we are pleased to be the first airline in Canada to offer in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity to customers flying over continental North America,” said Benjamin Smith, Executive Vice-President and Chief Commercial Officer of Air Canada. “In today's connected world, our customers want to access email, mobile device applications and the internet wherever they are, both to increase their work productivity and expand their leisure options.”

Air Canada presently has two Wi-Fi-equipped Airbus 319 aircraft operating in Canada and the U.S. and, subject to a final agreement with Gogo, plans to begin outfitting its remaining Airbus A319, A320 and A321 and Embraer 190 fleet types, as well as its Air Canada Express CRJ-705 and Embraer 175 aircraft, with Air-To-Ground Wi-Fi connectivity. The installations are to begin in May with the goal of equipping 29 aircraft in 2014 and a targeted completion date of December 2015 for the designated 130 narrow-body aircraft. The system offers peak connection speeds comparable to mobile broadband services available on the ground.

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