JetBlue expects wi-fi roll out later this year

Washington DC
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JetBlue Airways expects to begin operating three Airbus A320s equipped with wireless internet connectivity later this year, and will then begin equipping its entire fleet with the technology.

During its second quarter earnings call on 30 July, JetBlue's executive vice president and chief commercial officer Robin Hayes says JetBlue applied in early July with the US Federal Aviation Administration for a "supplemental type certificate" to operate aircraft with the system.

He adds that the FAA typically completes certifications within 30 days.

Assuming JetBlue gets the go-ahead, the airline plans to initially operate three A320s with the system for 90 days while it conducts tests.

"Then we will move to a fairly significant rollout," Hayes says, adding that JetBlue will first install the system on its fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft before retrofitting its Embraer 190 aircraft.

JetBlue has 128 Airbus aircraft and 59 E-190s, according to Flightglobal's Ascend Online database.

JetBlue does not say when all the conversions will be complete, but chief executive David Barger tells investors that JetBlue is "not going to let a lot of grass grow under this."

JetBlue began testing its wifi system, called "Fly-Fi," on one aircraft earlier this year. ViaSat, the company providing Ka-band connectivity for the system, says it will provide a connection speed of 12 Mbps or more to each passenger.