JetBlue to offer inflight Wi-Fi by 2012


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JetBlue Airways Corp. plans to outfit its fleet of 160 planes with inflight Internet access starting in mid-2012, the airline said Wednesday.

The Wi-Fi system will be provided by ViaSat Inc., a Carlsbad, Calif., telecommunications company. Neither JetBlue nor ViaSat would say how much the new system will cost.


Before the planes are wired, the satellite-based system must be tested by the Federal Aviation Administration.

“This system will be designed for the 21st century, not just for today’s personal connectivity needs, but with the bandwidth to expand to meet tomorrow’s needs as well,” JetBlue Chief Executive Dave Barger said in a statement.

Demand is surging for Wi-Fi connections on airliners. Nearly all major U.S. carriers have or are rolling out inflight Internet service.

In January, Row 44 landed a contract with Southwest Airlines to provide Wi-Fi on the carrier’s fleet of more than 540 planes. The Westlake Village company is slated to finish the job by 2013.

-- W.J. Hennigan