(Reuters) – British satellite operator Inmarsat will roll out a new satellite and air-to-ground network to give passengers on European flights broadband internet access on seat back screens and on their own smartphones and tablets.
The company said British Airways, owned by International Consolidated Airlines Group, was in advanced talks to roll out the service, which will use a new satellite expected to be delivered for launch at the end of 2016.
“Inmarsat will deliver high-speed mobile broadband to the seat back or to the passengers’ own mobile device, whether that’s a laptop or a phone or a pad throughout Europe,” Chief Executive Rupert Pearce said in an interview on Thursday.
“This transforms the potential for connectivity for aircraft flying around Europe.”
The service will be on the same lines as in-flight internet pioneered by Gogo Inc in the United States, Pearce said. Gogo uses air-to-ground and satellite technologies to keep passengers connected in the air.