Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Southwest targets 100%-Wi-Fi equipped fleet by the end of 2017

Southwest Airlines plans to have a fully Wi-Fi-equipped fleet by the end of 2017, and has entered into agreements with inflight connectivity providers to significantly increase the speed of its onboard Wi-Fi services starting next year.

Southwest said Dec. 13 that it has extended its agreement with longtime Wi-Fi provider Global Eagle Entertainment and signed a new agreement with Panasonic Avionics. Panasonic will equip new Southwest aircraft with its Global Communications Services offering, including the Boeing 737 MAX 8s scheduled to join the Dallas-based carrier’s fleet starting next year.

Southwest said all of its 737-300s, which are not Wi-Fi equipped, will be retired by the end of 2017, when it “is targeting to operate a 100% Wi-Fi-equipped fleet of more than 700 aircraft.”

Southwest added, “In mid-2017, [passengers] will be able to browse the internet at increased speeds as a result of an expected bandwidth increase of at least three times more than what they currently experience, with an additional expected bandwidth increase in mid-2018.”

Southwest said it does not plan to increase prices for onboard Wi-Fi services, with live television remaining free and the daily per device charge for Wi-Fi staying at $8.

(Aaron Karp - ATWOnline News)

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