Emirates’ passengers bound for the US will soon
be able to enjoy Wi-Fi, mobile service connectivity and Live TV
broadcasts, even when flying 40,000 feet over the North Pole and
Arctic circle.

Emirates is at the forefront of inflight
connectivity, with every aircraft connected for Wi-Fi, voice and
SMS services. However on its flights to the US, which often travel
over the polar region, passengers can find themselves without
connectivity for up to 4 hours. This is due to the fact that most
satellites that connect aircraft are geostationary, located over
the equator, and aircraft antennae cannot see the satellite when
in the far north, due to the earth’s curvature.

Emirates partner Inmarsat will soon solve this
problem with the addition of two elliptical orbit satellites, thus
providing coverage over the North Pole by 2022.


Emirates Airbus A380 reg: A6-EOB. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com on 4 July 2019. Click to enlarge.

The new satellites will also provide Live TV
broadcasts 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.

Philip Balaam, Inmarsat Aviation President,
said, “Inmarsat has an extremely successful track record of
working with Emirates to ensure their inflight 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. In
the past month alone, we have announced even more capacity being
added to the network with five additional payloads, including
these latest two for flights over the northern latitudes and
Arctic region. This is a great fit for Emirates and once again
they have played an important role in our decision for these
latest expansions.”

A popular service amongst Emirates’ customers,
over 1 million Wi-Fi connections are made onboard the airline’s
flights in an average month.

Wi-Fi connectivity is available on all Emirates
aircraft. Customers in all cabin classes receive 20MB of free
Wi-Fi data or unlimited use of messaging apps for 2 hours allowing
them to log on and stay in touch with friends, family or
colleagues. Emirates Skywards members enjoy special benefits
depending on their membership tier and class of travel, including
free Wi-Fi when travelling in First Class or Business Class.

Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ Executive Vice
President and Chief Operations Officer said, “We are very pleased
with this development, which will ensure Emirates continues to
lead the industry in providing our customers a seamless inflight
connectivity experience across geographies, on all of our flight
routes. Over the years, we have worked closely with Inmarsat and
our supply partners to continually raise the bar on inflight
connectivity, and we look forward to further enhancing that
experience, taking advantage of new technologies and
infrastructure.”

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