Emirates will extend its WiFi connectivity, mobile phone reception and Live TV access to include areas over the North Pole and Arctic Circle.
The carrier said, on flights to the United States, customers lose connectivity for up to four hours because “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.”
The issue will be solved with two new elliptical orbit satellites in partnership with Inmarsat. The service will come online in 2022.
All Emirates flights have WiFi connectivity, 20MB of free data, or unlimited use of messaging apps for two hours. Skywards Platinum and Gold members receive unlimited data usage throughout the flight, regardless of class of travel, while all Skywards members traveling in first and business class also get free usage.
Emirates says its flights see an average of more than 1 million WiFi connections onboard each month.
“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,” said Philip Balaam, president, Inmarsat Aviation. “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.”
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