Air Canada Wi-Fi to be available across North America

Air Canada is rolling out Wi-Fi access across dozens of aircraft beginning in May, with the aim of having wireless internet in all its narrow-bodied aircraft in North America by the end of 2015.

Airline says service will be comparable to broadband on the ground

Air Canada announced Tuesday that it would begin making Wi-Fi available on many of its North American aircraft beginning in May. (Todd Korol/Reuters)

Air Canada is introducing Wi-Fi access to dozens of its aircraft beginning in May, with the aim of making wireless internet available on 130 of its narrow-bodied, North American aircraft by the end of 2015.

Email, internet and mobile device apps will be made available on 29 aircraft this year, Air Canada announced Tuesday, making it the second Canadian airline to recently announce Wi-Fi services on flights. Calgary-based WestJet Airlines said in February it will start offering wireless aboard by the end of 2014.

Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said its service will be comparable to mobile broadband available on the ground.

Prices not finalized

Fitzpatrick said the price hasn't been worked out yet, but could include packages that involve buying access for a certain number of weeks or flights, or as a bundle available in the higher-fare classes.

"It's mostly aimed at business traffic, because they're the heaviest users," Fitzpatrick said.

The service, offered by the Illinois-based company Gogo, is a ground-to-air service and will therefore be available on flights within North America. Gogo will test satellite connections with international flights in 2015, Fitzpatrick said.

Air Canada already offers Wi-Fi on two Airbus 319 aircraft, and plans to outfit its remaining Airbus A319, A320, A321, Air Canada Express CRJ-705, Embraer 190 and Embraer 175 aircraft with an air-to-ground Wi-Fi connection.

The Federal Aviation Administration moved late last year to allow passengers to use electronic devices on U.S. flights, but Canadian regulators will have to approve Air Canada's and WestJet's shifts to Wi-Fi.​


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