Air Canada and WestJet, the two largest airlines in Canada, are planning to ramp up Wi-Fi internet services inside their planes. The companies are expecting to outfit a majority of their North American flights with In-flight internet services this year.
[pullquote align=”normal” cite=”- Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick”]“Customer response to in-flight Wi-Fi has been positive and encouraged the company to expand the service to all of its international fleet,” [/pullquote]
The Wi Fi service which was rolled out in 2014 has remained popular this year. Air Canada has outfitted 120 out of its 129 mainline flights of single-aisle aircraft with Wi-Fi capability. The remaining 9 flights are due to be equipped with Wi Fi this March. It also plans to add Wi Fi to its intercontinental flights.WestJet too remains positive about Wi Fi access on its planes, though it now only offers Wi Fi internet access on 30 percent of its planes, it expects majority of its aircrafts to be Wi Fi enabled by the end of the year.
“Customers were asking for the service over the years and are very interested in in-flight Wi Fi access,” WestJet spokesperson Lauren Stewart said.US airlines remain ahead in Wi Fi internet access services, with American airlines such as Delta and United offering Wi-Fi on more than 80 percent of their seat-miles. Seat-miles are a measure of airline carrying capacity and are the number of seats multiplied by miles flown.
The Difference between U.S and other countries’ Wi Fi access on planes remains the Gogo Network. Gogo is a ground-to-air Wi-Fi network that services several of North America’s biggest airlines, including Air Canada, American, Delta and United.
While Air Canada does use Gogo, another challenge it faces is the cost of installation which can be a hurdle in the airlines’ budget.
However Canada, in spite of being behind the US in Wi Fi access, has reasons to be optimistic as its prevalence is getting higher.
Accessing the internet using the flight’s Wi Fi system is only possible at cruising altitude. Other Canadian airlines such as Air Transat, Porter and Sunwing don’t offer the Wi Fi service on their flights yet.