DUBAI: Emirates’ passengers bound for the US will soon be able to enjoy Wi-Fi, mobile service connectivity and Live TV broadcast, even when flying 40,000 feet over the North Pole and Arctic circle.
Emirates has led the world with inflight connectivity, with every aircraft connected for Wi-Fi, voice and SMS services. However on its flights to the US, which often travel over the polar region, passengers can find themselves without connectivity for up to 4 hours. This is due to the fact that most satellites that connect aircraft are geostationary, located over the equator, and aircraft antennae cannot see the satellite when in the far north, due to the earth’s curvature.
Emirates partner Inmarsat will soon solve this problem with the addition of two elliptical orbit satellites, thus providing coverage over the North Pole by 2022.
The new satellites will also provide Live TV broadcast on Emirates flights allowing customers to watch live news or sports over the polar region. Emirates’ Live TV is currently available on 175 aircraft including all Boeing 777 and select Airbus 380s.
Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer said: “We are very pleased with this development, which will ensure Emirates continues to lead the industry in providing our customers a seamless inflight connectivity experience across geographies, on all of our flight routes. Over the years, we have worked closely with Inmarsat and our supply partners to continually raise the bar on inflight connectivity, and we look forward to further enhancing that experience, taking advantage of new technologies and infrastructure.”
Philip Balaam, Inmarsat Aviation President, said: “Inmarsat has an extremely successful track record of working with Emirates to ensure their inflight connectivity requirements are met on a global basis, both in the cockpit and the cabin. We are delighted to continue that tradition with the rapid development of our Global Xpress (GX) satellite network. In the past month alone, we have announced even more capacity being added to the network with five additional payloads, including these latest two for flights over the northern latitudes and Arctic region. This is a great fit for Emirates and once again they have played an important role in our decision for these latest expansions.”
A popular service amongst Emirates’ customers, over 1 million Wi-Fi connections are made onboard the airline’s flights in an average month.
Wi-Fi connectivity is available on all Emirates aircraft. Customers in all cabin classes receive 20MB of free Wi-Fi data or unlimited use of messaging apps for 2 hours allowing them to log on and stay in touch with friends, family or colleagues. Emirates Skywards members enjoy special benefits depending on their membership tier and class of travel, including free Wi-Fi when travelling in First Class or Business Class.
Emirates continually invests in improving bandwidth on board by upgrading the connectivity solution on the fleet. The airline has been at the forefront of innovation when it comes to inflight connectivity and entertainment. It was the first airline to allow mobile phone use inflight in 2008, and the first to install TV screens in every seat on every aircraft in its fleet in 1992. Today, the airline provides one of the most comprehensive and state-of-the-art entertainment and connectivity services in the skies. ice, Emirates’ award-winning inflight entertainment system, offers over 4,000 channels of entertainment, including over 1,000 movies from around the world. This unmatched variety of content will continue to grow, offering Emirates customers even more choice. BIZ TODAY REPORT