American Airlines is set to install high-speed wifi on nearly 500 regional aircraft, with the rollout starting early next year.

American Airlines already offers wifi on 900 mainline aircraft, but will extend the same high-speed connectivity to its regional aircraft over the next two years.

The carrier is purchasing new technology from provider Intelsat, whose Electronically Steered Array (ESA) antenna will allow “regional aircraft to match fast wifi speeds that are currently available on American’s mainline aircraft”.

Customers will be able to stream content, browse the internet, check their emails and log onto a VPN while inflight.

Ultimately, American plans to bring the total number of satellite-connected aircraft to more than 1,400.

Earlier this year American became the first airline to allow streaming on its entire mainline fleet. Note, however, that the airline does not offer free access to wifi, with fees starting from US$10 depending on the route.

For more information on inflight wifi across a number of carriers, see our feature:

Smart Traveller: a guide to inflight wifi