UAE-based Emirates has announced that 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 been offering 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 four 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, executive vice president and COO, Emirates, 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.”
A popular service amongst Emirates’ customers, over 1 million Wi-Fi connections are made onboard the airline’s flights in an average month.
Philip Balaam, predent, Inmarsat Aviation, 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.”
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.