United launches Ku-band inflight internet on three aircraft

Washington DC
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United Airlines has outfitted its first Boeing 747-400 and two Airbus A319 aircraft with Panasonic Avionics' Ku-band satellite internet, the carrier says.

The 747 will fly on routes across both the Atlantic and Pacific, while the A319s will serve domestic routes. United will offer both a standard and "accelerated" internet speed for an additional fee to passengers.

The Chicago-based carrier says that it plans to finish installing the wi-fi on 300 mainline aircraft by the end of 2013, a timeline that chief executive Jeff Smisek outlined for investors during a 25 October 2012 conference call.

United also has deals with two other connectivity providers on a smaller scale. It plans to install ViaSat's Ka-band technology on more than 200 domestic Boeing 737 and 757s, and will upgrade its 13 premium service, transcontinental Boeing 757-200s with the latest generation of Gogo's air-to-ground technology ATG-4.

The airline first announced the deal with Panasonic in November 2011.