Air Canada Begins Rolling Out Inflight Wifi Across Fleet, Says Pricing Will be ‘Competitive’

Air Canada plans to begin rolling out inflight wifi connectivity across its North American fleet in May under an agreement with Gogo.

The announcement was apparently made from an Air Canada plane inflight using Gogo’s wifi.

“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 inflight wifi connectivity to customers flying over continental North America,” said Benjamin Smith, Executive Vice-President and Chief Commercial Officer of Air Canada.

Air Canada presently has two wifi-equipped Airbus 319 aircraft operating in Canada and the US 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 wifi connectivity.

“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,” Smith continued.  “The introduction of wifi across our narrow-body North American fleet will be another welcome amenity for customers.”

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, according to Air Canada.

The airline notes that current regulations prohibit the use of cellular phones for voice communication. Pricing will be “competitive with other inflight wifi connectivity offerings.”

The agreement will also provide for future type-testing of Gogo satellite solutions for wifi on international flights, according to Air Canada.

In February WestJet announced that it signed a multi-year agreement with Panasonic Avionics Corporation to provide the Calgary-based airline with a new inflight entertainment system with the ability to feature wireless satellite internet connectivity, live streaming television, and on-demand movies and magazines.