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 said passengers on their flights to the US face in-flight connectivity issues for up to four hours. The airline said this was because most satellites that connect aircraft are geostationary, located over the equator. Aircraft antennae cannot see the satellite when in the far north, due to the earth’s curvature. Emirates said their partner Inmarsat will soon overcome 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: “Over the years, we have worked closely with Inmarsat and our supply partners to continually raise the bar on in-flight 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 in-flight 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. A popular service among Emirates’ customers, over 1 million Wi-Fi connections are made on-board the airline’s flights in an average month.