JetBlue to equip in-flight connectivity on A320s

JetBlue Airways (JetBlue) is to offer next-generation Ka-band satellite Wi-Fi technology on the airline’s fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft.

The installation will be carried out by maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) specialist, Aviation Technical Services (ATS), covering 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 during installation. All Airbus A320 installations are expected to be completed by the end of 2014.

"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."

Fly-Fi, JetBlue's brand for wireless in-flight internet, will use satellite-based connectivity known as Ku-band. Ka-band is the next generation of high-bandwidth satellite technology and is expected 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," explained 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."

"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," commented Matt Yerbic, ATS President and CEO.

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