Alaska Airlines has announced plans to outfit its regional jet aircraft with Intelsat’s newest satellite Wi-Fi technology. The airline aims to provide the streaming-fast Wi-Fi across its entire fleet by 2026.

Utilising an electronically steered array (ESA), a small, lighter weight antenna with no moving parts, Intelsat’s new Wi-Fi system will be easier to maintain in Alaska’s unique regional environment. Its connection to both traditional geostationary (GEO) satellites and new low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites will enable higher speeds and more coverage in the air.

“Bringing a streaming-fast satellite Wi-Fi solution to our regional jets is another key investment in modernising our fleet,” said Sangita Woerner, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Guest Experience, Alaska Airlines.

Woerner also stated that the growth of remote work has made staying connected at 34,000 feet “more important than ever”.

“Intelsat’s new system will give our guests peace of mind that no matter whether it’s a short flight or longer journey, there will be reliable, affordable and convenient Wi-Fi,” she added.

The installation of Intelsat’s system will be the first commercial application of an ESA that communicates with both GEO and LEO satellites.

The $25 million investment technology will debut on Alaska Airlines’ sister carrier, Horizon Air, in early 2024. Over the following two-years, the new system will roll out across the airline’s regional jet fleet, including on its partner SkyWest.

Alaska Airlines will continue to invest in its library of entertainment, allowing passengers free streaming to their personal devices as well as free texting inflight.

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