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British Airways to launch wifi on short haul flights

From next summer, International Airlines Group (IAG) will introduce high-speed wifi to the short-haul fleets of its four carriers, British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling.

As previously reported, IAG has teamed up with Inmarsat to provide the technology. The airline group is to be the launch customer for the UK firm’s European Aviation Network air-to-ground connectivity, which provides a 4G broadband service.

Willie Walsh, IAG’s chief executive, said that the network would offer “the fastest connectivity you can get on any aircraft”.

From summer next year, some 341 A320-family aircraft will start to be fitted with the technology – 132 BA aircraft, 125 Vueling, 45 Iberia and 39 Air Lingus. A British Airways A321 will be the first to receive it, with the other three carriers to follow later in the year.

IAG said passengers would have “bandwidth capacity to use multiple devices at the same time” and that “connection speeds will be similar to what they have at home”. Pricing details will not be revealed until closer to the launch date, a spokesperson said.

The news follows the announcement earlier this year that British Airways is to equip its long-haul fleet with high-speed wifi in partnership with Gogo.

From early 2017, 118 BA aircraft will be fitted with Gogo’s 2Ku technology, along with four Aer Lingus B757s and up to 15 Iberia long-haul aircraft.

By 2019, some 90 per cent of IAG’s short- and long-haul fleets will be wifi-equipped, the group said.

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