Emirates has announced plans to extend its wifi connectivity, mobile phone reception and Live TV access to include areas over the North Pole and Arctic Circle.
The carrier said that on flights to the US customers can find themselves without connectivity for up to four hours, 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”.
This issue is now set to be solved, with the addition of two elliptical orbit satellites in partnership with Inmarsat.
The improved service is set to come online by 2022. Wifi connectivity is available on all Emirates aircraft, with all passengers receiving 20MB of free data, or unlimited use of messaging apps for two hours.
Skywards Platinum and Gold members get unlimited data usage throughout the flight, regardless of class of travel, while all Skywards members travelling in first and business class also get free usage.
Emirates says that an average of over one million wifi connections are made onboard the carrier’s flights each month.
Commenting on the news 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.”