Aircell, the company behind American Airlines and later Delta's in-flight Wi-Fi services, has just signed up Air Canada to be the next airline to offer its passengers the web in the air via Gogo. They'll soon begin fitting their Airbus A319s with the necessary gear, and the service will begin on select flights that cross the border to the south starting in the spring of 2009, guaranteeing no Canuck is without live NHL score updates and news about their bad-ass socialized health care for more than a few minutes at a time. Phew.NOTE: Other international airlines have had in-flight net access, but this is the first international to use Aircell's Gogo service, which is being adopted quickly by US airlines.
Canada's Largest Airline Selects Aircell's Gogo Service for Inflight Wi-Fi (Sept. 9, 2008 – WAEA Conference and Exhibition) – Aircell®, the world's leading provider of airborne communications, and Air Canada, Canada's largest airline, today announced that they have reached an agreement, whereby the airline intends to offer the Aircell mobile broadband service, Gogo™, to passengers on trans-border flights expanding Aircell's North American footprint and making Air Canada the first Canadian airline to offer inflight Wi-Fi. Under this agreement, Air Canada will roll out the Gogo system on select flights, initially installing the system on its Airbus A319 aircraft that fly across the border into the United States. The airline expects to begin its initial deployment by spring 2009. The Gogo system on Air Canada's trans-border routes will be available first in the U.S. and powered by Aircell's existing U.S. network, making Air Canada's initial rollout fast, economical and simple. Air Canada and Aircell expect that the Gogo service will eventually provide passengers with seamless coverage from key Air Canada cities such as Montreal and Toronto to every Air Canada market in the continental U.S. Additionally, Aircell looks forward to the licensing and roll out of a Canadian Air-to-Ground network that will facilitate Air Canada's future fleet-wide deployment. "Air Canada has long been recognized as a leader in cabin merchandising and we are pleased to have Gogo selected as part of that marketing strategy," commented Jack Blumenstein, President and CEO, Aircell. "Adding Air Canada as Aircell's newest airline partner and first international customer will mark yet another milestone for our company. As we continue to grow our U.S. network and explore our international expansion plans, Air Canada will have the distinction of being the first." "Air Canada prides itself on connecting Canada and the world and an important element of staying connected today is having use of the Internet. That is why Air Canada is taking a major step forward to becoming the first Canadian airline to provide its customers inflight, online access through Gogo. In cooperation with Aircell, and pending Canadian regulatory approvals, we plan to eventually offer internet access system-wide so customers can email, work and surf the net while flying, and more fully enjoy what is already a superior travel experience," said Charles McKee, Vice President, Marketing, at Air Canada.[Photo: Cubbie_n_Vegas]