US Airways hopes to eventually recoup costs of offering Wi-fi

Washington DC
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As it moves forward in offering fleet-wide connectivity during the next couple of years, US Airways admits that at the moment the costs of offering in-flight connectivity on its Airbus A321 fleet are not being covered.

Phoenix-based US Airways has been offering Gogo's domestic air-to-ground connectivity offering on its Airbus A321s for roughly a year-and-a-half, and has said it would fit new delivery Airbus aircraft with the product.

During a recent interview with FlightglobalPro US Airways CEO Doug Parker stated: "We've publicly said on the A321s it [Wi-fi] hasn't covered the costs of putting it on. While consumers like having the product and it is a great productthere are not enough people that use it at least at US Airways right now on our A321s to pay for the cost of having the product."

However, he does believe that in-flight connectivity will become universal and at some point an airline could be at risk of losing some revenue by not offering the product. "Indeed, we're hopeful as it becomes more known and used that you'll actually get to the point where it will cover the costs," said Parker. "But that has not been the experience for us so far."

Despite the challenges in recouping the costs of offering Wi-fi, US Airways appears to be laying the groundwork to offer connectivity on its domestic fleet within a couple of years. At a recent investor conference carrier CFO Derek Kerr is studying both Gogo and Row 44 as it evaluates equipage for its domestic fleet.

Echoing Parker's comments Kerr concluded: "If you do not have that product on your planes, I think you'll be left behind."