Aviation News

September 3, 2013

A320 Finally Certified For LiveTV’s Wi-Fi, Coming Soon To JetBlue

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Written by: Jason Rabinowitz
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After a quite long testing period, which wasn’t helped by the federal government sequestration slowdown, JetBlue subsidiary LiveTV LLC has received a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the Airbus 320 from the Federal Aviation Administration for the brand new Ka-band internet system. Why is this important? Well, it is the last major hurdle stopping JetBlue from launching their much anticipated (and delayed) Wi-Fi service, dubbed Fly-Fi, which has been undergoing airborne testing for months.

The new radome on a JetBlue A320

The new radome on a JetBlue A320

To operate the new service, LiveTV has to develop a new antenna system and protective covering, which require a lengthy approval process. Now that the approval is out of the way, JetBlue can being their journey down the long road of fitting their entire fleet with the new system. “We expect to have a number of JetBlue aircraft installed with Wi-Fi by the end of this year, and will aggressively roll it out across our Airbus fleet over the next 18 months, followed by our Embraer fleet,” said Robin Hayes, chief commercial officer for JetBlue. Over the next 18 months, JetBlue will focus on Airbus A320 installations, with their fleet of Embraer E190s to follow. The system is also being certified for United Airlines’ Boeing 737-900, as well as for the Aer Lingus Airbus A320 fleet.

Once in operation, JetBlue plans to offer a basic level of Fly-Fi service for free, as well as a paid option for faster connections. The Ka-band connection should be faster than any other existing in-flight Wi-Fi experience, but we’ll see how well that claim holds up once 125 passengers try to watch Netflix on their way to Chicago.

Fly-Fi Install from JetBlue on Vimeo.

About the Author

Jason Rabinowitz



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